Paul Menard and the No. 21 Menards/Maytag Ford Mustang are set to start 19th in Sunday’s Bluegreen Vacations 500 at ISM Raceway near Phoenix.
Menard said his qualifying speed of 137.515 miles per hour was a sign of progress over the weekend.
"It was a pick up," he said. "It didn’t drive great, but when we did our mock run yesterday it was a little bit hotter out and the track had a little bit more grip.
"We made some adjustments in the right direction. I wish it drove a little bit better, but we’ll see how it holds on."
In Friday’s practice sessions, Menard was 10th in the opening round with a best lap at 135.333 mph.
Sunday’s Bluegreen Vacations 500-kilometer race is set to start just after 12:30 p.m. (2:30 p.m. Eastern) with TV coverage on NBC.