Paul Menard and the No. 21 Motorcraft/Quick Lane team showed good speed most of Friday at Dover International Speedway, but that speed eluded them in the second round of qualifying, leaving them with a 20th-place effort.
Menard set the pace in the opening practice session, topping the speed charts with a lap at 159.830 miles per hour.
In the first round of qualifying, he ran a lap at 155.246 mph to easily be among the 24 drivers who advanced to the second round.
But his progression ended there as his lap at 155.166 mph was just 20th fastest, and that became his official qualifying position.
For Menard and the Motorcraft/Quick Lane team it was a matter of having a car with plenty of speed, but not so much at qualifying time.
“Dover is a tough track to be fast at early because the track changes so much,” Menard said.
“After our practice there was some Xfinity practice and Truck practice, and the track was a lot different for our qualifying.
“We didn’t change a whole lot. We just got really tight in qualifying.”
Menard said he’s not overly concerned, and he expects the Motorcraft/Quick Lane team to use Saturday’s practice time to tune the No. 21 Fusion for Sunday’s 400-miler.
“I know our car has speed, we just need to balance it out in race trim,” he said.
The AAA Drive For Autism 400 is set to get the green flag just after 2 p.m. Eastern Time with TV coverage on Fox Sports 1.