Phase Two of NASCAR’s new intermediate track handling package for Monster Energy Cup Series cars kicks in this weekend at Las Vegas Motor Speedway, and Paul Menard and the No. 21 Motorcraft/Quick Lane team are among those wondering how the racing will be once a full field of cars is on the track.
At Atlanta Motor Speedway, portions of the new lower horsepower/higher downforce package were introduced. This week at Las Vegas Motor Speedway will see the addition of aero ducts that transfer air to the side of the car away from the front tires, a feature that will be seen at several other tracks as well.
Menard said the racing at Las Vegas will be different than Atlanta, due to the aero ducts and the increase level of grip at Las Vegas compared to what drivers experienced on the worn asphalt at Atlanta.
“The way the racing plays out at Las Vegas will change,” he said. “The cars will be more packed up, and it’ll be less of a true handling race track.”
He said there will be similarities to the racing at Atlanta, especially just after restarts.
At Atlanta, drivers usually raced two-wide for a few laps, until tire wear began to kick in.
“At Las Vegas, we’ll see lots of three-wide on restarts, and it’ll stay that way until the handling starts to go away,” he said, adding that the new rules package will give the race a little bit of a restrictor-plate-race feel. “There will be drafting, but we won’t be two-wide the whole race.”
With the new rules at Atlanta, drivers could run wide-open all the way around the track for a lap or two. At Vegas, it may be wide open for much longer than that.
“At the test, after 25 laps you could still run wide open if you were in clean air,” he said.
Menard said that as the Motorcraft/Quick Lane team prepares for the Vegas weekend, it’ll be important to use practice time wisely.
“What you need for qualifying is not what you need for the race,” he said. “Las Vegas has higher grip, but you still need handling and driveability.”
Qualifying for the Pennzoil 400 is set for Friday at 4:40 p.m. (7:40 Eastern Time), and the race is scheduled to start just after 12:30 p.m. (3:30 Eastern) with TV coverage on FOX.
Motorcraft® offers a complete line of replacement parts that are recommended and approved by Ford Motor Company. From routine maintenance to under-hood repairs, Motorcraft parts offer exceptional value with the highest quality and right fit at competitive prices. Motorcraft parts are available nationwide at Ford and Lincoln dealers, independent distributors and automotive parts retailers are backed by Ford Motor Company’s two-year, unlimited-miles Service Parts Limited Warranty. Ask for Motorcraft by name when you visit your local auto parts store or your favorite service facility. For more information, visit www.motorcraft.com.
About Quick Lane Tire & Auto Centers
Ford’s Quick Lane Tire & Auto Center offers routine vehicle maintenance such as oil and filter changes, light repair services including brake repair, and tire replacements on all vehicle makes and models. With more than 800 locations and growing, customers can visit www.quicklane.com to find a center that is closest to them, print savings coupons and review maintenance tips to keep their vehicles running at peak efficiency. This site includes information on how to spot tire wear, how to jump-start a battery and even a series of tips to improve a vehicle’s fuel economy.
About Ford Motor Company
Ford Motor Company is a global company based in Dearborn, Michigan. The company designs, manufactures, markets and services a full line of Ford cars, trucks, SUVs, electrified vehicles and Lincoln luxury vehicles, provides financial services through Ford Motor Credit Company and is pursuing leadership positions in electrification, autonomous vehicles and mobility solutions. Ford employs approximately 200,000 people worldwide. For more information regarding Ford, its products and Ford Motor Credit Company, please visit www.corporate.ford.com.
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 120 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 Mustang driven by Paul Menard in the famous No. 21 racer.