Last week’s Daytona night race was a disappointment for a lot of Monster Energy NASCAR Cup Series teams, including the Wood Brothers and its No. 21 driver, Paul Menard. The team is hoping for a reboot this weekend at Saturday’s Quaker State 400 at Kentucky Speedway.
2016 Repave — Still a Relative Unknown
Menard has raced Kentucky Speedway in a total of seven MENCS races so far in his career, with a total of three top-15 finishes. The No. 21 drive said he is unsure of what to expect from the relatively new surface at Kentucky. The surface was both reconfigured and repaved just two years ago.
“I’m not sure how the track will react this time,” Menard said.
Menard said the track’s natural asphalt aging means the track will be changed somewhat since the Cup drivers raced there in the summer of 2017.
The Wood Brothers driver said it will still be a number of years before the track’s surface ages to the driver’s preference. Menard, like many Cup drivers want a worn track surface that allows the drivers to slip, slide and find multiple grooves.
“Any recent repave is hard to like for the first five years or so,” Menard said.
“It’ll be interesting to see how much grip has gone away since last year.”
Menard said Kentucky Speedway does present challenges for both the drivers and their crew chiefs.
“It’s a little like Texas [Motor Speedway],” he said.
“The entrance to turn three is real flat, and the entrance to Turn One is wide and has higher banking.”
The No. 21 said the car’s setup for Saturday’s race would be a compromise.
No. 21 Standings
The single-car team of the Wood Brothers Racing team enter the Kentucky race weekend 17th in the championship standings. They are 55 points away from the final Playoff spot. A race win is almost the only Way the No. 21 can be in contention for the 10-race Playoffs. Kentucky’s race will mark eight more regular season races.
Kentucky Race Weekend
Qualifying for the Quaker State 400 at Kentucky Speedway is set for this Friday at 6:40 pm ET, with the race scheduled for 7:30 pm ET Saturday. Television coverage for both qualifying and the night race will be on NBCSN.