Paul Menard and the No. 21 Moen Ford Fusion qualified in the 15th position for Sunday’s Folds of Honor QuikTrip 500 at Atlanta Motor Speedway.
At the first downforce track on the 2018 Monster Energy Cup schedule, Menard opened the day by posting the 15th fastest speed in practice with a lap at 183.765 miles per hour.
Then in first of three rounds of knockout qualifying, he was 16th fastest with a lap at 183.321 mph to advance to Round Two.
He followed that with a lap at 182.464 mph, which put him just outside the top 12 that advance to the final round.
Team co-owner Eddie Wood said he liked what he saw from the No. 21 Moen team on Friday.
“It was the first downforce race of the season, and we made it to the second round of qualifying,” Wood said. “Paul got loose off of Turn Four in the first run, and in the second round, his speed didn’t fall off as much as you might expect on the worn surface at Atlanta and he actually bettered his starting position.”
Wood added that Menard, crew chief Greg Erwin and the rest of the No. 21 team worked well together getting the car prepared for qualifying and the race.
“They ran some laps in race trim at the start of practice and had good speed,” he said. “They’ll work on it some more in Happy Hour on Saturday, and then we’ll see what happens on Sunday.”
The Folds of Honor QuikTrip 500 is set to start just after 2 p.m. on Sunday with TV coverage on FOX.