Paul Menard turned in a season-best sixth-place effort on Saturday at Michigan International Speedway as Ford drivers took five of the top six starting spots for Sunday’s FireKeepers Casino 400.
Menard, driving the No. 21 Menards/Nibco Ford Mustang, earned that spot with a lap at 186.659 miles per hour. It’s the fifth time in 15 qualifying sessions this season that Menard has been among the top 10.
His speed on Saturday represented a step up from practice on Friday, where he was ninth fastest in opening practice with a best lap at 187.251 mph and 19th best in Happy Hour with a best lap at 186.417 mph. Menard also had the fifth-best speed of those who ran 10 consecutive laps in the first practice with an average speed of 186.025 mph.
Eddie Wood said Menard, crew chief Greg Erwin and the No. 21 Menards/Nibco team focused on race set-up in both practices on Friday and were pleased with how their Mustang performed in practice and in qualifying.
“They’re really happy with the car, which is good because you want to be at your best here in the backyard of Ford Motor Company,” Wood said. “We’re glad to be a part of a strong qualifying effort by the Ford teams.
“Now we have to go out and try to do it again tomorrow.”
The FireKeepers Casino 400 is set to get the green flag just after 2 p.m. Eastern Time on Sunday with TV coverage on Fox Sports 1.