Paul Menard and the No. 21 Menards/Jack Links Ford team head to Michigan hoping for a strong performance at the home track of Ford Motor Company and a home track of sorts for Menard.
“Michigan and Chicagoland are the closest,” Menard said of the distance between the two Monster Energy Cup Series tracks and his hometown of Eau Claire, Wisconsin. “I remember more going to Road America and the Milwaukee Mile.”
Michigan and Chicagoland both are at least 300 miles from Menard’s hometown while Road America in Elhart Lake and the Milwaukee Mile are home-state tracks for him.
But his career results at Michigan, including four fourth-place finishes, are enough to make him feel right at home in the Irish Hills of southeastern Michigan.
“It’s been a good track for me, pretty solid,” Menard said. “I ran good there before the repave and after too.”
Menard said the challenges at Michigan include adapting to regular tire combination variations Goodyear and to the changes in track conditions due to fluctuations in temperatures.
“It’s a very weather-dependent track,” he said. “If it’s hot, the track is edgy, and if it’s cool it’s fast.
“But it’s a cool track, and as the surface wears, the groove opens up more.”
Menard also said the race is important because of Ford’s connection to the area.
“It’s in Ford’s backyard,” he said. “There’s a lot of support from Ford when we race at Michigan.”
Menard heads to Michigan after closing out Sunday’s 400-miler at Pocono Raceway with a strong charge from the back of the pack to finish 11th.
He’s now 17thin the championship standings with 12 races remaining in the 26-race regular season.
Qualifying for the FireKeepers Casino 400 is set for 4:10 p.m. on Friday, and the race is scheduled to start just after 2 p.m. on Sunday with TV coverage on FOX.
A family-owned and run company started in 1958, Menards currently operates 307 home improvement stores located in 14 Midwestern states. Menards is well known throughout the Midwest for a complete selection of high-quality, name brand merchandise and all the tools, materials and supplies for any job. Whether just needing a light bulb, gallon of paint or household supplies, or building a deck, fence or new home, there is something for everyone at Menards whether a beginning do-it-yourselfer or more experienced contractor.
Wood Brothers Racing
Wood Brothers Racing was formed in 1950 in Stuart, Va., by Hall of Famer Glen Wood. Wood Brothers Racing is the oldest active team and one of the winningest teams in NASCAR history. Since its founding, the team won 99 races (including at least one race in every decade for the last seven decades) and 119 poles in NASCAR’s top-tier series. Fielding only Ford products for its entire history, the Wood Brothers own the longest association of any motorsports team with a single manufacturer. Glen’s brother, Leonard, is known for inventing the modern pit stop. The team currently runs the Ford Fusion driven by Paul Menard in the famous No. 21 racer.