Friday, Jan 21

Menard Qualifies 14th At Talladega; Crafton On Standby

Paul Menard and the No. 21 Menards/Tarkett Flooring Ford Mustang secured the 14th starting spot for Sunday’s 50 at Talladega Superspeedway with a lap at 190.514 miles per hour during qualifying on Saturday afternoon.

It was the 15th time in 30 qualifying sessions this season that Menard has been 14th or better in the starting line-up.

The No. 21 Menards/Tarkett Mustang has been among the fastest cars in practice at Talladega. It was 11th fastest in Friday’s opening practice with a best lap at 202.795 mph and was third fastest in Happy Hour with a best lap at 200.814 mph.

Menard shared driving duties in practice with Matt Crafton, who will be standing by on Sunday for Menard, who has been battling soreness and pain in his neck.
“I’m getting old,” Menard said when asked about his neck issues. “It’s all part of what you sign up for when you’re born, I guess.
“My neck has some disc issues and things that if I were to get upside-down it would be pretty bad.  
“Normal hits aren’t bad, it’s upside-down things that are bad.”
 Menard said he plans to see how things are going in Sunday’s race before he decides if and when to turn the No. 21 Mustang over to Crafton.
“We’re going to kind of see how we feel,” he said. “We have a good back-up plan with Matt and tried to get him as much drafting as we could yesterday because more than likely, honestly, I’m probably going to get out.”

 Sunday’s 500 is set to get the green flag on Sunday just after 1 p.m. (2 p.m. Eastern Time) with TV coverage on NBC. 



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