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Paul Menard crew member unharmed after ‘fluke’ tire incident in pits

A member of Paul Menard's crew was injured when a tire exploded on pit road.

FORT WORTH, Texas - Mason Jennings, a tire specialist on the No. 27 of Paul Menard, was unharmed and had ringing in his ears after a tire appeared to explode during a Menard pit stop in the AAA Texas 500 at Texas Motor Speedway.

But according to a Goodyear tire official, the tire did not explode. The accident was a “fluke,” a result of the tire’s inner liner slipping completely off the wheel. Menard was in the pits after spinning in Turns 3 and 4 on Lap 143.

“When a car spins it generally flat spots the tires, which is exactly what happened here,” said Greg Stucker, Goodyear’s director of race tire sales. “It flat spotted both front (tires). The damage that was done to the left front as he drove around the race track looked like it partially unseated the inner liner. So it was actually the inner liner that let go on pit road. It wasn’t the tire itself. The tire was already down.”

Jennings was taken to the infield medical center but released.