NASCAR driver Paul Menard and his wife Jennifer celebrated the birth of their first child on Tuesday. The couple welcomed to the family Remi Barbara Christine Menard who was born Tuesday evening. As a result of the arrival of his new daughter, Menard will not be in Fontana on Friday for Sprint Cup qualifying. Since Menard will not be there to qualify his No. 27 machine, he will have to start the Auto Club 400 from the back of the pack.
Earlier today RCR shared the following via their official Twitter page.
FYI – M Crafton to drive No. 27 Fri for prac and qual this wknd. P Menard in NC w/ wife and newborn, will arrive Sat for pracs and race Sun.
— RCR (@RCRracing) March 20, 2014
Matt Crafton who is the reigning NASCAR Craftsman Truck Champion and a close friend of Menard’s has been on standby for a couple of weeks now. Back in Las Vegas when Menard first made preparations, Crafton had the following to say about being ready if called upon.
It’s tough, because you just don’t know when or even if it will happen, but kind of like that backup quarterback, you have to be ready at any time. Paul and I have been good friends going back to 2001. We’ve raced together and I actually spotted for him early in his career. For him to have the confidence in me to get the job done if he has to head back home, that’s awesome.
Although this is a joyous time for Menard and his wife it is also one that could have a negative impact on the No. 27 team. Under the new championship format a win during the regular season will most likely send you to the chase, assuming that you qualify or race every event. With Menard not in Fontana on Friday to qualify for the Auto Club 400 he will need to make sure he makes it for the race on Sunday. If Menard were to miss the race Sunday it would eliminate him from chase contention since he also missed qualifying.
Be sure to check back with Beyond the Flag for full coverage of Sprint Cup qualifying from the Auto Club Speedway.