Paul Menard and the No. 21 Menards/Moen team recovered from damage in two separate incidents to finish 14th in Sunday’s Folds of Honor QuikTrip 500 at Atlanta Motor Speedway.
Menard started Sunday’s 500-miler from 14th position and ran around the top 15 for most of the race’s two 85-lap stages.
Just before the end of stage two, Menard ran over a piece of debris, which knocked a softball-sized hole in the front end of the Menards Mustang.
The No. 21 crew was able to patch up the damage from that incident, but with about 80 of 325 laps remaining in the race, contact with a lapped car led to more front end damage.
With the way the cautions played out late the race, the team was unable to repair that damage as they took the wave-around after the race’s final caution flag, which flew during a round of green-flag pit stops just after Menard made his pit stop and thereby went a lap down. (Teams aren’t allowed to pit without penalty if they take the wave-around.)
Through the entire race, the Greg Erwin-led crew worked to tune the No. 21 Mustang, with positive results.
“Greg made good adjustments, and got the car a lot better,” Eddie Wood said. “It was really good at the end, which allowed Paul to pick up several positions on that last run.
“And our pit crew had a great day on pit road.”
Wood also offered congratulations to his Ford teammates for their win in the 500, which was the first in Cup for the new Ford Mustang.
“We’re really happy for Roger Penske, Brad Keselowski, the No. 2 team and the people at Ford Performance on their win today,” he said.
Menard and the No. 21 team, which moved up to 21st in the points standings thanks to their finish at Atlanta, return to the tracks next weekend for the Pennzoil 400 at Las Vegas Motor Speedway.