Paul Menard was announced as the Wood Brothers’ replacement for departing Ryan Blaney in 2018. Menard, 36, will compete full-time in the Monster Energy NASCAR Cup Series for the Stuart, Virginia based team. He will also compete in select XFINITY Series races for Team Penske in 2018.
Menards will sponsor the team for 22 events. Motorcraft/Quicklane is expected to make up some of the remaining balance of races.
The technical alliance between the Wood Brothers and Team Penske will remain. Roush-Yates Engines will continue to work with the team, as well.
“It’s fantastic to have the ability to continue to race in the highest level of motorsports full-time and something we look forward to doing with Paul for years to come,” said Eddie Wood in a press release. “I know this will allow us to continue to perform as an organization and will give Paul a great opportunity to go out there and compete for wins. Paul is not only a great driver with a lot of experience in the Cup Series, but he’s great with partners, which is a big part of what we do these days. We are looking forward to finishing out this season with Ryan (Blaney), going for more wins and maybe even a championship, and continuing that with Paul in 2018.”
“I’ve really enjoyed my time in NASCAR and as a Cup Series driver, but to get the chance to drive the iconic No. 21 for the Wood Brothers is the coolest thing I’ve ever got a chance to do,” said Menard. “I’m looking forward to working with the team, working with Roush Yates, Ford Performance and Team Penske to see what we can do. Ryan (Blaney) has done a fantastic job and is a constant threat to run up front. Hopefully, we can do the same thing and keep the momentum going into 2018 and beyond.”
The move adds stability to the Wood Brothers Racing organization which needed assurances of sponsorship to continue to compete in NASCAR’s premier series in a full-time capacity. Menard moves to a more competitive ride and has proven to be a relatively consistent and known commodity.
Photo Credit: Jonathan Huff – apertureone.net