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Menard finishes 3rd in Vegas with baby on the way

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LAS VEGAS (AP) — Paul Menard drove at Las Vegas Motor Speedway like a guy who was late for the birth of his first child.

Menard finished third behind Brad Keselowski and Dale Earnhardt Jr. on Sunday, while his nine-months-pregnant wife, Jennifer, was back home in Charlotte. She’s due on Tuesday, but any worries didn’t stop Menard from posting his third top-10 finish in Vegas in his Richard Childress Racing Chevy.

“I didn’t get the call, so I guess everything is good,” he said moments after the finish.

Menard told his wife to call if she went into labor, but he left his phone in the hauler during the race. His team had backup driver Matt Crafton standing by all weekend.

“He really wants to get in the car,” Menard said. “So I told Jennifer if it’s important, call Matt, because he’s sure as hell going to tell me.”

After qualifying in 21st place, Menard even led for six laps on the hot, slick track after passing Jimmie Johnson.

“Felt like we had a top-three car, and at times the best car,” Menard said. “We’re really clicking well.”