Paul Menard and the No. 21 Motorcraft/Quick Lane Ford Fusion will line up 13thfor Sunday’s GEICO 500 at Talladega Superspeedway.
Menard posted a qualifying lap at 191.486 miles per hour, which was just .018 seconds shy of allowing him to advance to the second and final round of qualifying.
But there was little disappointment among the Motorcraft/Quick Lane crew members because the team spent most of the two practice sessions on Friday getting their car tuned for racing conditions. Menard also slipped by the big wreck of the day on Friday, a move that kept him in his primary car for Sunday’s race.
“They worked really hard on race set-up,” team co-owner Eddie Wood said of Menard, crew chief Greg Erwin, and the Motorcraft/Quick Lane team. “They only made a couple of mock qualifying runs and still just missed making the final round by a fraction of a second.
“We’ve got a good car for the race, so we’re pretty happy about that.”
But there was a sense of sadness at Talladega on Saturday as the news came that former Talladega winner James Hylton, 83, and his son James Jr., better known as Tweety, were killed in a highway crash en route to their Inman, S.C., home after competing as car owners in Friday’s ARCA race at Talladega.
“We have known James since we were little kids,” Wood said. “He was one of the good guys. He was always an independent, but he made the most of it.
“He finished second in the championship standings three times behind David Pearson (in 1966) and Richard Petty (in 1967 and 1971).”
Wood also pointed out that Hylton died on the way home from the track where he scored his biggest triumph as a driver. Hylton won the 1972 Talladega 500, leading 106 laps in a Mercury he’d purchased from the Wood Brothers.
“He was a special guy,” Wood said.
TIL NEXT TIME, I AM STILL WORKING ON MY REDNECK!