Paul Menard from Eau Claire stayed improved each time out, but overall it was a tough weekend at Fontana Auto Club Speedway and Menard ultimately settled for a 20th Place finish in his #21 Menards/Moen Ford Mustang.
The Wood Brothers Team press release said an aggressive pit strategy backfired on the Wisconsin racer as he hit the pits under green conditions on Lap 160 of 200, just seven laps before a caution that forced him and the rest of the lap-down racers to take a wave around to stay on the lead lap.
With no more cautions, Menard ran the final 37 laps on the oldest tires of any lead lap racers. He was 17th at the time the green flag flew for a final time and worked his way up to 14 before tire wear ultimately saw him draw back to 20th.
The hard work on the track paid off as Menard qualified 25th with a lap time of 40.534 seconds having shaved more than a second off his starting time of 40.644 seconds in his first practice laps.
The big story on the day was a second straight Monster Cup Race win for Kyle Busch and his career 200th NASCAR win, tying him with legend Richard Petty for the most in racing history. With the way Busch has been racing lately, expect him to establish a new record at Martinsville this weekend.
Menard collected 17 points for his 20th place showing and he now sits 21st overall with 98 points, five behind Austin Dillon in 20th.
The Martinsville event will be a home race for the Wood Brothers Team and the STP 500. The Wood Brothers team with host a gathering at the Wood Brothers Racing Museum Friday, honoring team founder Glenn Wood who passed away at the age of 93 in January.