Paul Menard and the No. 21 Menards/Knauf Insulation team head to Bristol Motor Speedway hoping for a repeat – or better – of their run at the Tennessee track back in April.
In that Food City 500, Menard and his No. 21 Ford Mustang stayed on the track on old tires on the race’s final caution period and came away with a season-best sixth-place finish.
He earned a season-high 34 points for that race in which he started ninth, earned three points with an eighth-place finish in the first Stage and generally made the most of pit strategies that saw him run numerous fast laps on older tires.
Eddie Wood said running fast times on old tires at Bristol is nothing new and pointed to the team’s only win at Bristol, where Elliott Sadler ran the final 162 laps on the same set to tires and same tank of fuel to beat John Andretti in the No. 43 fielded by Petty Enterprises.
That 2001 race was the last time that the 21 and the 43 have finished 1-2 in a Cup race, and it was the first at Bristol where teams chose to treat the race like one on a road course from a strategy standpoint.
“That was the start of teams using a strategy where once you get to where you can make it to the end on fuel you stay out during cautions,” Wood said, adding that trips to Bristol have long been fun experiences. “I always look forward to going up there. The night race is special, and now that the PJ1 (traction compound) is a mainstay there, it’s interesting to see what affect it will have on the race.”
Wood also said he wouldn’t mind seeing a repeat of 2001.
“It’s been a while since we won a race, so it would be a good time to go get another one,” he said.
Qualifying is set for Friday at 5:45 p.m., and the race is scheduled to start just after 7:30 p.m. on Saturday with TV coverage on NBCSN.