Paul Menard Set to Return to the Track at COTA


Credit: Debbie Ross for Skirts and Scuffs

The NASCAR world got a surprise this morning, after a tweet from ThorSport Racing revealed that Paul Menard would be returning to the driver's seat this weekend at Circuit of the Americas in Austin, Texas. The former Cup Series driver retired in 2019 after racing in NASCAR's three premier series for sixteen years.

ThorSport announced that Menard, 40, will pilot a fifth truck for the Ohio-based race team with sponsor assistance from Mattei, a company known for compressor manufacturing, who boasts a rich history working with race teams. This will be both NASCAR's and Menard's first time competing at the Central Texas road course, which hosts a number of events throughout the year, including the F1 series. 

Menard's surprise retirement announcement in the summer of 2019 came as a shock to many in the NASCAR community. There were no indicators that he was considering leaving full-time racing, as his only comment was that when the time for retirement was right, he would know. He left racing to spend more time with his family and has kept a relatively low profile since leaving the sport. 

Menard said in a press release that he was appreciative of the opportunity afforded to him by ThorSport, and that he was excited to get behind the wheel. He also noted that he would have only 50 minutes to learn the layout of the track and "get the dust off." A win in the series this weekend would add his name to the list of drivers that have won in all three of NASCAR's national series, a feat which only 36 others have accomplished. 

Menard's sixteen prior years in the sport amassed 471 starts in the Cup Series, 220 in the Xfinity Series, and six in the Camping World Truck series. He has one Cup win (the 2011 Brickyard 400), and three Xfinity Series wins. He last raced in the series finale at Homestead-Miami Speedway on Nov. 17, 2019. ThorSport Racing currently fields four full-time truck teams and has been in the sport since 1996.



Paul Menard Set to Return to the Track at COTA Paul Menard Set to Return to the Track at COTA Reviewed by Stephanie Stuart-Landrey on Tuesday, May 18, 2021 Rating: 5