Paul Menard will have Gander Outdoors Truck Series driver Matt Crafton on standby Sunday afternoon at Talladega Superspeedway.
Wood Brothers Racing announced Thursday that Menard has been dealing with ongoing soreness and neck pain. However, he does plan to practice (Friday), qualify (Saturday) and start the race in the No. 21 Ford.
Crafton, who will be at Talladega to compete in Saturday afternoon’s Truck Series race, will also get some time behind the wheel early in the weekend to make sure he’s acclimated to the car should the need to relieve Menard arise in the 1000bulbs.com 500.
“Due to neck issues I’ve been battling, and talking it over with my wife, team and doctors, I’ve made the decision to be sure Matt is prepared to finish out the race for me if needed,” Menard said. “I’m a race car driver and a competitor, but I also need to be smart and take care of myself for my family. As I want what is best for the Wood Brothers and my 21 family, I know Matt can get in there if need be and mix it up and will do a great job.”
Menard is in the final stretch of races competing for the Wood Brothers after announcing last month he will retire at the end of the season.