After an eventful qualifying session at Auto Club Speedway on Friday, Paul Menard and the No. 21 Menards/Moen Mustang are set to start Sunday’s Auto Club 400 from 25th place.
Menard was on the track in Round One of qualifying when the caution flag flew for a spin by Chase Elliott, interrupting that qualifying attempt.
The Menards/Moen team cooled the engine of the No. 21 Mustang, and Menard went back out in the closing seconds of the session, but his lap time suffered after a slower car blended up in front of him. Still, he came within one spot of advancing to the second round.
Eddie Wood pointed out that other cars on the track play an important part in where a driver qualifies in a group session with the new lower horsepower/higher downforce package.
“You want to be catching another car at the end of your lap,” Wood said. “Unfortunately for us, a car pulled up in front of Paul.
His official qualifying lap was at 177.629 miles per hour, just .016 seconds shy of being good enough to advance to the second qualifying round.
Menard and the No. 21 team will have two practice sessions on Saturday to fine-tune their race set-up. Sunday’s 400-mile race on the two-mile oval in Fontana, Calif., is set to get the green flag just after 12:30 p.m. (3:30 p.m. Eastern Time) with TV coverage on FOX.