Matt Crafton will drive the No. 27 car Friday at Auto Club Speedway in place of Paul Menard, who remains home in North Carolina with his wife and newborn daughter.
Menard's wife, Jennifer, gave birth to Remi Barbara Christine Menard late Tuesday night. She is the couple's first child.
Crafton, the defending Camping World Truck Series champion, has been on standby for Menard the previous two weeks and will practice and qualify the Richard Childress Racing entry Friday. Menard will be at Fontana Saturday to participate in all on-track activities throughout the remainder of the weekend. But because he didn't qualify, Menard will have to start at the rear of the field Sunday.
Say hello to two-day old Remi Menard w/ proud dad, Paul. pic.twitter.com/6w0BsWj1tc— RCR 27 Cup Team (@RCR27PMenard) March 20, 2014
Menard hasn't been the only driver on baby watch recently, as Matt Kenseth's wife, Katie, is due to give birth in two weeks. If Kenseth has to return home prematurely, Jeff Burton would drive his car in Sunday's Sprint Cup Auto Club 400, while Sam Hornish Jr. would drive in Saturday's Nationwide Series race.