Paul Menard and the No. 21 Menards/Nibco Mustang came away with a 13th-place finish in Monday’s rain-delayed FireKeepers Casino 400 at Michigan International Speedway.
Menard was fast from the drop of the green flag, moving from his sixth starting position to third place on the opening lap then to second by lap four.
He took the yellow flag at lap 21 for a competition caution in fourth place, and remained in the lead group throughout the first Stage. He ended that segment in ninth place, earning two stage points.
He finished just outside the top 10 in the second Stage, winding up 11th after that 60-lap segment.
The final Stage saw Menard moving up and down the scoreboard as teams employed differing strategies on pit stops, with some taking four tires, others two and some fuel only. He was running second when he made his final stop, for two tires and fuel, with 22 laps remaining.
Menard was running 16th when the race’s final caution flag flew, setting up an overtime run to the checkered flag. He gained three spots in those two laps to secure his seventh top-15 finish in the 15 races run so far this season.
“We had top-10 speed just about the whole race,” Eddie Wood said. “It was hard racing all day long.”
Wood said he was happy to see his fellow Ford campaigners - Joey Logano and his No. 22 crew from Team Penske - celebrating in Victory Lane, especially at Michigan.
“We know how much it means to Edsel Ford and the people at Ford Motor Company to win here and get to keep the Michigan Heritage trophy,” he said of the coveted trophy that goes to the winning manufacturer after races at Michigan International Speedway. “I know a lot of them couldn’t stay until Monday because some had to work and others were leaving for Le Mans.”
Wood also pointed out that a good number of fans stayed over to watch the rain-delayed race.
“And it was good to see a lot of fans stick around for a Monday race that started late in the day,” he said. “I’m glad they got to see a good race.”
Racing resumes June 23 at Sonoma Raceway.