Matt Crafton to stand by for Paul Menard at Talladega

NASCAR Gander Outdoors Truck Series driver Matt Crafton will be on standby for Wood Brothers Racing this weekend at Talladega (Ala.) Superspeedway.

Matt Crafton to stand by for Paul Menard at Talladega

Wood Brothers announced Thursday evening that due to lingering neck issues with its driver Paul Menard, Crafton will remain on standby all weekend should Menard need a relief driver.

Crafton, a two-time Truck Series champion, will take some laps in the No. 21 Ford during Friday’s practice sessions to get acclimated to the car.

Menard, however, plans to practice, qualify and start Sunday’s race.

“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 in a statement.

“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 No. 21 family, I know Matt can get in there if need be and mix it up and will do a great job.”

Crafton’s most recent official Cup Series start was in the 2015 Daytona 500, when he drove Joe Gibbs Racing’s No. 18 Toyota substituting for Kyle Busch, who was injured in the Xfinity Series race the day before. He finished 18th.

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