Paul Menard will end his Monster Energy NASCAR Cup Series career at season's end, and Matt DiBenedetto will assume driving duties of the No. 21 Wood Brothers Racing Ford Mustang for the 2020 season.

Menard piloted the Wood Brother's single-car entry for the last two seasons and has raced at NASCAR's top level since 2007. His lone series win came at the 2011 Brickyard 400 at the Indianapolis Motor Speedway and also has two poles among his 461 starts.

His decision weighed heavily on wanting to spend more time with his family.

"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.

"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," Wood added. "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."

Menard's departure results in a fortuitous opportunity for Matt DiBenedetto. The Grass Valley, California native was informed in August that Leavine Family Racing wouldn't retain him for 2020.

He turned some impressive results in 2019 including a near win the Bass Pro Shops NRA Night Race at Bristol after leading 93 circuits and an eventual second-place finish. Also among the highlights are six top tens over the summer as will as leading 49 laps in the Daytona 500 before crashing late in the going.

"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."

 

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