Menard to backup after crash in practice, John Wes Townley goes home

Paul Menard, driver of the #27 Menards Chevy was forced to a backup car Friday. (Getty Images)
Paul Menard, driver of the #27 Menards Chevy was forced to a backup car Friday. (Getty Images)

LONG POND, Pa. — With a few minutes left in Friday’s first Sprint Cup practice session, Paul Menard clobbered the Turn 1 wall, damaging his car so severely that his No. 27 Richard Childress Racing team immediately rolled out a backup car.

“I think a radiator hose blew off,” said Menard, who was unhurt. “I went to hit the brakes and there was a bunch of smoke. It filled the cockpit, and it just wouldn’t stop. It was a hard hit, but I’m OK.”

Menard hadn’t planned to do a mock qualifying run in the first practice, preferring not to post a high speed in the session to guarantee an early draw in Saturday’s time trials. Qualifying order is set from slowest first to fastest last, based on top speeds in first practice.

“We weren’t going to do a qualifying run, because I think we wanted to go out early to qualify,” Menard said. “The car was driving pretty good, and we were making little gains on it — all for naught.”


You’ve heard of staying in Major League Baseball long enough to get a cup of coffee? Well, John Wes Townley’s Sprint Cup debut didn’t last long enough to take a sip.

Townley, scheduled to make his first Cup start Sunday, was replaced in the No. 32 Ford after wrecking at the exit of Pocono’s Tunnel Turn on his first lap around the track, according to a story posted on

Camping World Truck Series driver Jason White will be behind the wheel of the No. 32, which has a guaranteed starting spot in the Pennsylvania 400 because of its position in the top 35 in owner points.

Greg Engle
About Greg Engle 7421 Articles
Greg is a published award winning sportswriter who spent 23 years combined active and active reserve military service, much of that in and around the Special Operations community. Greg is the author of "The Nuts and Bolts of NASCAR: The Definitive Viewers' Guide to Big-Time Stock Car Auto Racing" and has been published in major publications across the country including the Los Angeles Times, the Cleveland Plain Dealer and the Atlanta Journal-Constitution. He was also a contributor to Chicken Soup for the NASCAR Soul, published in 2010, and the Christmas edition in 2016. He wrote as the NASCAR, Formula 1, Auto Reviews and National Veterans Affairs Examiner for and has appeared on Fox News. He holds a BS degree in communications, a Masters degree in psychology and is currently a PhD candidate majoring in psychology. He is currently the weekend Motorsports Editor for Autoweek.