Paul Menard's spin toward the end of last weekend's NASCAR Sprint Cup Series race at Richmond International Raceway was not intentional, the driver told SB Nation on Thursday night.
Menard, speaking after an autograph signing at a Menards store near Chicagoland Speedway, said the radio communication with his team about cautions was misconstrued.
When Menard's team told him, "We don't need a caution right now," the driver said it was in response to a planned retaliation attempt on Matt Kenseth.
Kenseth had wrecked Menard earlier in the race, the driver said.
"We got wrecked early, and I was going to pay back the guy, but they said we didn't need a caution," Menard said. "(Kevin) Harvick was running pretty good at the time. That's where the whole caution thing came in."
The Richard Childress Racing driver's spin had come into question when Richmond runner-up Jeff Gordon wondered aloud about the timing of the caution, which allowed Harvick (Menard's teammate) to catch Gordon and eventually win the race.
Gordon called the caution "a little fishy" when speaking with reporters earlier Thursday, citing the radio chatter. But Menard said the communications were about his plans for Kenseth.
"I was going to retaliate and then they said, 'We don't need a caution,'" Menard said. "So (that meant), 'Do not retaliate and cause a caution.'"
But Menard eventually spun out when Gordon was leading – not Harvick. Did Menard spin intentionally to help his teammate catch up?
"No," he said. "The car was wrecked and tore to pieces. It's behind the fab shop now, a pile of junk. You'd put new tires on and it would feel pretty good. After 10 laps, it was total shit."
Menard said he hasn't heard or read anything about the controversy this week – nor has he heard a replay of his radio chatter – but learned of the uproar through his public relations representatives.
Was he surprised the spin had become an issue?
"No," he said. "People need something to talk about, I guess."