Paul Menard and the No. 21 Senior Master Technicians/Quick Lane Ford Mustang came within a splash of gas of ending the Consumers Energy 400 at Michigan International Speedway with a solid top-10 finish.
But he didn’t quite make it.
With the checkered flag just a couple of miles away, Menard was running ninth and poised to pass others running out of fuel at the finish when he found himself among those running on fumes. With his fuel supply depleted, he nursed the car back around to finish 15th.
Menard, with his Mustang carrying the names of a group of Senior Master Technicians who were on hand for the race, had a solid run going for most of the day at the home track of Ford Motor Company.
He took the initial green flag from ninth place and ended the first 60-lap Stage in 17th place. He then worked his way up to finish the second Stage in 10th place, earning one Stage point.
With four relatively fresh tires on the No. 21, Menard was able to gain track position and restart the final segment from fifth place.
From that point on, he and the No. 21 Mustang were able to stay among the leaders for most every green-flag run.
Just after a restart with 48 laps remaining, he drove forward and briefly battled Ford teammate Ryan Blaney for second place.
At that point, Menard and the team went into fuel-conservation mode, but he still kept his place among the top 10 as the laps wound down.
But, like several of his competitors, his fuel-saving efforts weren’t quite enough as the race ran green for the final 48 laps.
Eddie Wood said he was proud of his team for getting in position to finish well within the top 10.
“We had the strategy to finish just outside the top five but came up a little short,” he said. “Overall it was a great day for us. Honoring the Senior Master Technicians was one of the most successful promotions we’ve ever been a part of.
“Now it’s on to Bristol, where we’ve had really good cars for the past several years.”