Menard to retire, DiBenedetto lands Woods Brothers seat

Image by LaBounty/LAT

Menard to retire, DiBenedetto lands Woods Brothers seat


Menard to retire, DiBenedetto lands Woods Brothers seat


Paul Menard is out and Matt DiBenedetto is moving in at Wood Brothers Racing.

Menard, 39, announced on Tuesday that he is retiring from full-time NASCAR competition after this season. Menard has driven for the Wood Brothers for two years, and indicated at Kentucky Speedway last month he would be continuing with the team because he had a contract for 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,” said Menard. “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. 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 made 461 Monster Energy NASCAR Cup Series starts, with his debut occurring in the 2003 Watkins Glen race. He has one series win, the 2011 Brickyard 400, and 69 top-10 finishes.

“We want to thank Paul Menard for his dedication to the team over the last two seasons,” said team President and Co-Owner Eddie Wood.

“We’re looking forward to a strong finish to 2019 and we wish him nothing but the best for the future. All of us at Wood Brothers Racing are excited to welcome Matt DiBenedetto to the team beginning next season. Matt has shown a lot of promise on track and everyone has seen it in his results this season, especially over the past several months. We want to continue to build on that success together as we gear up for 2020 and the future of Wood Brothers Racing.”

The future of DiBenedetto, 28, has been a hot silly season topic after he revealed that he would not be returning with Leavine Family Racing next season. Over the summer DiBenedetto has shined with six top-10 finishes, including challenging for his first career win at Bristol when he led 93 laps. DiBenedetto also opened the season on a high note by leading 49 laps in the Daytona 500.

“I am so excited about this opportunity to race for one of the most successful teams in NASCAR history beginning in 2020,” said DiBenedetto.

“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.”