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Paul Menard retiring, Wood Brothers hires DiBenedetto

CHARLOTTE, N.C. (AP) — Paul Menard will retire at the end of the season and Wood Brothers Racing has hired Matt DiBenedetto to replace him in the iconic No. 21 Ford.

Menard has driven for Wood Brothers for two seasons, but has spent 16 years in the Cup Series. On Tuesday, he cited a desire to spend more time with his wife and two young children in stepping away from NASCAR’s grueling 38-race schedule.

The decision is a gift to DiBenedetto, who learned last month he wasn’t being retained at Leavine Family Racing next year. With few available rides available, DiBenedetto was unsure if he’d land in a competitive seat.

Now he’s got a job with one of the oldest teams in NASCAR and one that has an alliance with powerhouse Team Penske.

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