Paul Menard and the No. 21 Quick Lane Mustang are set to start Sunday’s GEICO 500 at Talladega Superspeedway from 17th place.
Menard earned that spot in qualifying on Saturday with a best lap at 189.921 miles per hour.
With a new rules package in place for Sunday’s 100th Cup race at the giant Alabama track, Menard and his peers have spent Friday and Saturday fine-tuning their cars for a race that still has many unknowns when it comes to how the cars will react in the draft with every car on the track at the same time.
Menard showed good speed on Friday while running with a few other cars in the draft. He ran a lap at 200.259 miles per hour in the opening practice session and upped his speed to 202.328 in Happy Hour. That speed put him eighth-best on the speed chart.
Talladega has been a good track for Menard over the years, with three top-five and seven top-10 finishes in 25 career starts.
His Wood Brothers team has run 92 of the 99 Cup races run so far at Talladega with five wins, 18 top-five and 32 top-10 finishes.
Eddie Wood said he’s proud of his team’s Talladega record.
“My Dad and my Uncle Leonard built some fast cars back in the day, and we had some great drivers,” he said. “Those trophies mean a lot to us, and we hope to get a few more before we’re done.”
Sunday’s GEICO 500 is set to start on Sunday at 1 p.m. Central Time (2 p.m. Eastern) with TV coverage on FOX.