Menard goes to back-up in first session

Richard Childress Racing endured its share of difficulties in opening practice at Richmond International Raceway on Friday.

Paul Menard was the first to have trouble 45 minutes into the first NASCAR Sprint Cup practice when his throttle stuck and the right side of the car slammed the wall. The No. 27 team was forced to pull out the back-up car. Menard experienced problems with a sticky throttle in the secondary car as well, but the brake disabled the shut-off automatically.

“The throttle broke," said Menard, who posted the third-fastest lap (126.139 mph) on the speed chart. "It hung open 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 open so I just laid on the brake and it shut off like it was supposed to.

“My guys do a good job. The primary was good and I am sure the back-up will be good.”

Kevin Harvick’s issues were transmission-based. His No. 29 team replaced the transmission and Harvick returned to action with 30 minutes remaining in the session. Harvick’s top lap in practice was 125.494 mph.

Not to be left out, Jeff Burton’s No. 31 Chevrolet experienced a loose plug wire just prior to Harvick’s return to action. Burton’s best lap (123.215 mph) was only 31st among competitors.