Paul Menard and the No. 21 Menards/FVP team had a strong run going in Friday’s Monster Energy Cup Series qualifying session at Auto Club Speedway in Fontana, Calif.
He was fourth fastest in the first of three rounds of knockout qualifying, but hit a little bump – literally – in Round Two, which puts him starting 14th .
“We had a really good Ford, and I tried getting a little too much maybe, and I skipped across two sets of seams and that just killed our lap,” Menard said. “An interesting qualifying session for sure”
Like most drivers and teams at Fontana on Friday, Menard and the Menards/FVP team ran only a few laps in the opening practice session. Menard’s best lap at 185.567 miles per hour came on his fifth and final lap.
In the opening round of qualifying, he ran a lap at 187.359 mph, assuring him of advancing into the second round of qualifying, as he has done in every qualifying session this season.
His speed of 184.596 mph on his second lap, set him up for a start on the seventh row on Sunday.
After two practice sessions on Saturday, the 200-lap Auto Club 400 is set to get the green flag on Sunday at 12:30 p.m. (3:30 p.m. Eastern Time), with TV coverage on FOX.
Wood Brothers Racing PR/Photo Robert Laberge/Getty Images