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NASCAR Cup: Paul Menard retires, Matt DiBenedetto to Wood Brothers Racing in 2020

LAS VEGAS, NEVADA – JANUARY 31: Monster Energy NASCAR Cup Series driver Paul Menard looks on from the garage area during testing at the Las Vegas Motor Speedway on January 31, 2019 in Las Vegas, Nevada. (Photo by David Becker/Getty Images)

By AMANDA VINCENT

Paul Menard will retire from full-time competition as a Monster Energy NASCAR Cup Series competition at the end of the 2019 season, according to a Tuesday morning announcement from Wood Brothers Racing. Matt DiBenedetto will replace him behind the wheel of the No. 21 Wood Brothers Racing Ford in 2020.

“I’ve enjoyed every moment of my career racing in the NASCAR Cup Series, and I’m so thankful for all the great memories and friendships I’ve made through this sport,” Menard said. “But I’m looking forward to spending more time at home with my wife Jennifer and our two young children while moving forward with the next chapter of my life. “I want to thank everyone at Wood Brothers Racing, along with Team Penske, and our partners at Menards, Motorcraft, Quick Lane Tire & Auto Centers and Ford. It’s been a privilege to work with them and some of the true legends of our sport, including Andy Petree, Dale Earnhardt Jr., Robert Yates, Richard Petty, Richard Childress, Roger Penske and Glen and Leonard Wood. I’m excited for what the future holds and I’m looking forward to sharing the plans for 2020 and beyond in the coming weeks.”

Menard has been in the Cup Series since 2003, a full-time driver in the series since 2008. He drove for teams including Dale Earnhardt Inc., Yates Racing, Richard Petty Motorsports and Richard Childress Racing before moving from RCR to Wood Brothers Racing ahead of the 2018 season. In 461-career starts, he won once — the 2011 Brickyard 400 — with RCR. He also posted 20 top-fives and 69 top-10 finishes.

DiBenedetto will finish the season as driver of the No. 95 Leavine Family Racing Toyota. The announcement of his release from LFR came days before he finished a career-best second at Bristol (Tenn.) Motor Speedway in August. The 2019 season is his only season with Leavine. DiBenedetto has been in the Cup Series since 2015 also driving for teams including BK Racing and Go FAS Racing. In 166-career starts, he has three top-fives and 10 top-10 finishes.

“I am so excited about this opportunity to race for one of the most successful teams in NASCAR history beginning in 2020,” DiBenedetto said. “The No. 21 Ford is one of the most accomplished and iconic cars in our sport, and it will be an honor to join Wood Brothers Racing and help carry on the team’s tradition of success in NASCAR. I want to thank Eddie and Len Wood, Kim Wood Hall, Menards, Edsel Ford and Ford Motor Company for this opportunity.”

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Posted by on September 10, 2019. Filed under Breaking News,Featured,Monster Energy NASCAR Cup,NASCAR. You can follow any responses to this entry through the RSS 2.0. You can leave a response or trackback to this entry

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