Crafton Standing By For Menard At Talladega

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Paul Menard could hand the wheel of the No. 21 Ford to Matt Crafton during Sunday's NASCAR Cup Series race at Talladega Superspeedway. (HHP/Harold Hinson Photo)
Paul Menard could hand the wheel of the No. 21 Ford to Matt Crafton during Sunday's NASCAR Cup Series race at Talladega Superspeedway. (HHP/Harold Hinson Photo)

TALLADEGA, Ala. – Wood Brothers Racing announced Thursday that two-time NASCAR Gander Outdoors Truck Series champion Matt Crafton will be on stand-by for Paul Menard during Sunday’s Monster Energy NASCAR Cup Series event at Talladega Superspeedway.

Menard, who has had ongoing soreness and pain with his neck, plans to practice, qualify and start Sunday’s race. Crafton will practice the No. 21 Menards/Tarkett Ford Mustang on Friday to get acclimated to the car.

“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 (Crafton) is prepared to finish out the race for me if needed,” said Menard. “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.”

Crafton has made one Monster Energy NASCAR Cup Series start during his career, driving the No. 18 Toyota for Joe Gibbs Racing in the Daytona 500 in 2015 after Kyle Busch was injured in the NASCAR Xfinity Series race the day before.