In his final practice session as a full-time Cup driver, Paul Menard wheeled the No. 21 Motorcraft/Quick Lane Ford Mustang around Homestead-Miami Speedway with a best lap at 166.446 miles per hour.
That put him 12th on the speed chart for an abbreviated practice session, but he’ll start Sunday’s Ford EcoBoost 400 from 19th place after qualifying was cancelled because of rain on Friday and the starting line-up set by car owner points.
Eddie Wood said he feels good about the speed of the Motorcraft/Quick Lane Mustang heading into Sunday’s season finale.
“Paul and [crew chief] Greg [Erwin] seemed happy with the car,” Wood said. “We’re all hoping for a good run for Paul’s last race as a full-time Cup driver.
“No matter how things work out in the race, it’ll be a bittersweet day for us all. Having a driver retire while driving our car is a rare thing for us.”
Sunday’s race will be Menard’s 471st in NASCAR’s elite division. Only nine drivers in Sunday’s line-up have more starts than Menard.
Menard has a chance to finish the season with the most laps completed and most miles run this season. His 9,951 laps are second only to Joey Logano’s 9,954, and his miles run, 13,315.79, also are second to Logano, who has 13,339.23.
Sunday’s Ford EcoBoost 400 is set to start just after 3 p.m. on Sunday with TV coverage on NBC.