Paul Menard and the No. 21 Motorcraft/Quick Lane team are set to start 18th in Sunday’s 50th running of the Gander RV 400 at Dover International Speedway.
Menard began the Dover weekend by posting a best lap at 163.369 miles per hour in an opening practice session in which he ran just 10 laps.
With NASCAR changing qualifying from three-round “knock-out” formula back to single-car qualifying, Menard ran just one lap Friday afternoon and posted a speed of 162.631 mph, which was 18th fastest.
Menard and the Motorcraft team now turn their attention to tuning the No. 21 Mustang for Sunday’s 400-lap, 400-mile run. Two 50-minute practice sessions set for Saturday. The first is scheduled to start at 9:05 a.m. Eastern Time, with Happy Hour set to begin at noon.
This weekend is the first at Dover for Nascar’s new rules package that was introduced at the start of the season. Speeds are up significantly on Friday due to the added downforce.
Planning a race strategy for Sunday could get complicated as the National Weather Service has predicted an 80 percent chance of rain on Sunday with estimated rainfall totals ranging from a half-inch to three-quarters of an inch. The positive side of the forecast is that the expected high temperature is just 67 degrees, which promises some relief for drivers and fans at a track known for sweltering conditions.
The Gander RV 400 is set to start just after 2 p.m. on Sunday with TV coverage on Fox Sports 1.