Paul Menard rolled off his No.21 Ford from 22nd following a mixed qualifying performance from Friday.
The initial run went okay having moved up a spot in 21st within the first 10-15 Laps.
When the first caution came out on Lap 14 over Stanton Barrett, Menard pitted for treatment, new tires & fuel.
And it’s so far, so good having ended up in 16th at the end of Stage 1.
With no need to pit during the break, Menard took the wave-around before he restarted in 9th.
The overall performance carried from the end of Stage 1 looks impressive having moved his way inside the Top 5.
His race day strategy ran the same as Wood Brothers’ old alumni Ryan Blaney plus Blaney’s teammate Brad Keselowski.
Although, in the next run, he lost some spots just slipping outside the Top 5 before pitting with a few laps to go under green.
Yes, Menard & Wood Brothers would like some stage points down in 8th.
But it’s all about the overall finish as he came home in 20th by Lap 50.
He initially had a great restart by picking up two spots from 7th to 5th.
When Austin Dillon hits the wall at Turn 13, Menard pitted for changes under caution on Lap 65.
At the next restart, he had some trouble into push & shove against Jamie McMurray has picked up a tire rub plus fender damage.
Yes, the next caution came out immediately following Austin Dillon’s early end of the race.
Though, there’s not much smoke seen from his Spotter Stevie Reeves & Crew Chief Greg Erwin.
If they pitted straightaway, then that would cost them time and track position.
So no significant issues in the No.21 Ford as he restarted in 2nd via the wave-around.
He remained challenging inside the Top 5 where he ran quietly in the radio towards the end of the race.
But unfortunately, he crashed along with a few cars just only five to go at Turn 1.
And having to end his day early, Paul Menard finished in 33rd.
Paul Menard’s 2018 Monster Energy NASCAR Cup Series Season.
- 28 Starts
- 7051 of 7861 laps completed, 89.7%
- 12 Laps led
- Highest Qualifying Spot: 1st, June 2018 in Chicago
- Best Finish: 5th, June 2018 in Michigan
- One Top 5, 3.6%
- Six Top 10 Finishes, 21.4%
- Average Start: 16.2 & Finish: 18.6
- DNFs: Five.
- He currently sits 18th in the Drivers’ Standings with 570 points.
- 6th, Daytona 500
- 17th, Atlanta
- 9th, Las Vegas
- 36th/Crash, Phoenix
- 19th, Fontana
- 13th, Martinsville
- 30th/Crash, Texas
- 13th, Bristol
- 24th, Richmond
- 30th/Crash, Talladega
- 34th, Dover
- 6th, Kansas
- 14th, Charlotte
- 11th, Pocono
- 5th, Michigan
- 26th, Sonoma
- 13th, Chicagoland
- 28th, Daytona 2
- 11th, Kentucky
- 17th, New Hampshire
- 21st, Pocono 2
- 28th, Watkins Glen
- 16th, Michigan 2
- 36th/Crash, Bristol 2
- 17th, Darlington
- 9th, Indianapolis
- 10th, Las Vegas 2
- 22nd, Richmond 2
- 33rd/Crash, Charlotte Roval
Conclusion Part 1
Performance wise in the No.21 Ford, plenty of positives to say about it.
A great run towards the end of Stage 1 provided a fantastic restart in Stage 2.
Although, he did pit at the right time after slipping out of the Top 5 with only a few laps left before hitting Lap 50 because he & the organization are worried about the overall finish.
On the run during the final stage, once again no problems with the car despite a little fender & tire rub issue.
Menard’s on the verge on a great show having run quietly without distraction through a very quality race car.
The late yellows may have provided a foreign influence to put Menard back on the front foot.
But also on the wrong foot when he’s unable to end the race with the multi-car wreck on Turn 1, Five laps left.
It’s a big kick in the teeth after all the hard work put in all weekend long.
They had to overcome from a mid-pack qualifying performance to regularly improving the performance through most of race day.
The overall strategy they followed looks the best alongside their sister organization, Team Penske.
Well, it’s a bummer not to pick up a possible Top 10 and maximum points in the bag.
Conclusion Part 2
What’s worse now is that Menard now finished Two new outside Top 20 finishes throughout September.
Plus he has Five overall DNFs and carries the recent two within five weeks & six races.
Menard & Wood Brothers Racing are hoping to bounce back next time.
They have one of the faster race cars on their hand and should keep this momentum going into Dover.
If the No.21 Ford continues to run problem free all race long; Paul Menard will do well in one of these top quality equipment that will help him & Wood Brothers move further forward 100%.
He’s here on a multi-year deal & sure Menard has plenty to offer regarding his best when he comes back next week to try and claim that Top 10.
Yes, the Roval has done well to the race fans & the sport itself to alter the dynamic trend of the race season.
But for Menard & Wood Brothers, not useful without a pass mark regarding the race today.
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