Paul Menard was correct in his post-qualifying assessment on Saturday that his No. 21 Menards/Jack Links Ford Mustang would be faster than his 31st-place qualifying result indicated.
In Sunday’s AAA Texas 500 at Texas Motor Speedway, Menard quickly moved forward and ran in the top 15 – and the top 10 at times – before fading to 20th at the finish.
In the third and final segment of the race, Menard was still running in the top 15 when he made a green flag pit stop just before the caution flag flew for a spin by Bubba Wallace.
Crew chief Greg Erwin elected to take the wave-around to rejoin the lead lap, but that meant Menard would be restarting at the back.
Between the lost track position, a tight handling condition and an 86-lap green-flag run to the finish Menard was unable to regain the lost ground and ended the race in 20th place.
Eddie Wood said he was liking the way things were going for the No. 21 team until the last quarter of the race.
“The first two Stages went pretty good,” he said. “We ran in the top 10, and although we wound up not getting any Stage points we were right there the whole time.
“Everything was ok with the car until that caution came out. We went a lap down there, and never could make up what we lost.”
Menard and the Wood Brothers team return to the track next weekend for the Bluegreen Vacations 500 at ISM Raceway in Phoenix.