RICHMOND, Va. — Early in Friday’s opening Cup practice session at Richmond, Paul Menard posted the third-fastest time. His lap at 126.139 mph held that position for the entire session.
By the time the two-hour practice session ended, however, Menard’s primary car was long gone. As Menard put the power down in Turn 4 shortly after running his best lap, the throttle stuck, propelling the No. 27 Chevrolet into the outside wall just short of the start/finish line.
After Menard hit the wall, he mashed the brake, and the engine shut off by design with the electronic fuel injection system, new to the series this year.
“The throttle broke,” Menard said as his team readied a backup car. “It hung as I was coming out onto the straightaway, so my foot wasn’t on the brake and I tried kicking it back even after I hit the wall, and it was still hung, so I just laid on the brake and it shut off like it was supposed to.”
Menard’s throttle problems weren’t over. Shortly after he took to the track in the backup car, his throttle hung again as he exited Turn 2. Fortunately, Menard kept the car off the wall and brought it to the garage, where his crew adjusted the throttle stop, hoping to put the issue to an end.
Menard qualified 31 for Saturday nights race.