Paul Menard and the No. 21 Motorcraft/Quick Lane Mustang are set to start Sunday’s Bank of America ROVAL 400 at Charlotte Motor Speedway from 10th place.
Menard posted the 12th best time in the first round of qualifying with a lap at 102.074 miles per hour, which put him among the top 12 drivers who would run for the pole.
In the final round, he was 10th fastest with a lap at 101.587 mph.
It was the eighth time this season that Menard has qualified among the top 12 and the second time in the past four races that he’s been in the top 10.
Menard picked up speed from practice to qualifying as he was 20th on the speed chart in Friday’s opening practice with a best lap of 100.379 mph. He posted that speed on the sixth of his 12 laps run on the 2.28-mile course that made its debut last year.
Eddie Wood said he was proud of a qualifying performance that earned his team an early pick of pit stalls and a good starting spot for the race.
“It was a good run for us,” Wood said. “We should be getting a pretty good pit stall, and it’s definitely an advantage to be starting the race close to the front.”
Wood also said Menard’s final lap might have been better had he not returned to the track near the end of the first qualifying session in a move to ensure that he didn’t lose his spot among the elite 12 that ran for the pole.
“That probably hurt some,” he said.
After two practice sessions on Saturday, the Bank of America ROVAL 400 is set to get the green flag just after 2:30 p.m. on Sunday with TV coverage on NBC.