Following the 2019 season finale, Paul Menard has officially retired from full-time NASCAR Cup Series competition after a 16-year career.
Wood Brothers Racing’s Paul Menard announced in September that he would be retiring from full-time NASCAR Cup Series competition once the 2019 season came to an end.
With the 36-race season having come to a close yesterday at Homestead-Miami Speedway, the 39-year-old Eau Claire, Wisconsin native has officially retired from full-time competition.
Menard began competed in the Cup Series in the 2003 season, although he did not become a full-time driver until the 2007 season.
He drove in one race for Andy Petree Racing in the 2003 season and failed to qualify for another, and he drove in one race for Dale Earnhardt, Inc. in the 2005 season. He then drove in seven races for the team and failed to qualify for three more in the 2006 season.
Menard began driving full-time for Dale Earnhardt, Inc. in the 2007 season, and he has driven full-time in the Cup Series ever since. He ended up failing to qualify for six of the 36 races on the 2007 schedule, but following his sixth disqualification of the season, he has competed in each of the 452 races that have taken place since.
He drove for Dale Earnhardt, Inc. in the 2008 season as well before making the move to Yates Racing for the 2009 season. He drove for Richard Petty Motorsports in the 2010 season before landing a ride with Richard Childress Racing, where he spent the next seven seasons.
In the 2011 season, Menard secured his one and only victory by winning the Brickyard 400 at Indianapolis Motor Speedway. In the 2015 season, he finished in a career-high 14th place in the championship standings.
Ahead of the 2018 season, Menard signed with Wood Brothers Racing, and he spent the 2018 and 2019 seasons driving for the team prior to his retirement. Matt DiBenedetto is set to replace him behind the wheel of the iconic #21 Ford next year, thanks to Menard’s personal recommendation.
Menard retires having competed in 471 races. He recorded 69 top 10 finishes, including 20 top five finishes and one victory, and he took two pole positions. He led 336 of the 129,241 laps that he completed and recorded an average starting position of 20.0 and an average finishing position of 20.2.
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We wish Paul Menard nothing but the best as he steps away from racing full-time and embarks upon his post-NASCAR life; for the first time in 14 years next year, driving a stock car will not be his full-time job, and it will certainly be an adjustment for him.