Paul Menard and the No. 21 Menards/Knauf Insulation team struggled to overcome an early flat tire and wound up finishing 23rd in a drama-filled Night Race at Bristol Motor Speedway.
With a strong Bristol crowd looking on, Menard started 25th and maintained his position through the first 70 laps before a flat tire sent him to pit road for an unscheduled, green-flag pit stop.
In a harbinger of things to come, a caution flag that could have saved him lost laps flew just after Menard returned to the track two laps down in 27th place.
He and the crew of the No. 21 Mustang regained one of the lost laps, and for much of the race after that he’d battle for the Free Pass position only to lose it before a caution flag would fly.
Menard did manage to avoid several accidents that occurred just ahead of him, but once he fell two laps in arrears, the opportunities to rejoin the lead lap were limited and he ended the race five laps in down.
Eddie Wood said he was glad to see the electric atmosphere return to Bristol Motor Speedway but was sorry his team didn’t have the run it was looking for.
“We’ve run well at Bristol the past few years, but tonight just wasn’t our night,” he said. “It was frustrating, but we’ll regroup over the off week and try to come back strong at Darlington.”