Menard to backup car

Paul Menard drives the #27 NIBCO/Menards Chevrolet during practice for the NASCAR Sprint Cup Series Capital City 400 at Richmond International Raceway on April 27, 2012 in Richmond, Virginia. (Photo by Sean Gardner/Getty Images for NASCAR)
Paul Menard drives the #27 NIBCO/Menards Chevrolet during practice for the NASCAR Sprint Cup Series Capital City 400 at Richmond International Raceway on April 27, 2012 in Richmond, Virginia. (Photo by Sean Gardner/Getty Images for NASCAR)

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.

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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 Examiner.com 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.