Paul Menard and David Ragan each will make their last start as a full-time driver in the Monster Energy NASCAR Cup Series in Sunday’s Ford EcoBoost 400 at Homestead-Miami Speedway.
Through-out their careers, both Menard and Ragan have experienced the high of winning in NASCAR’s top division. Menard won the 2011 Brickyard 400 at Indianapolis Motor Speedway and Ragan captured two restrictor-plate wins in the July race at Daytona International Speedway in 2011 and at Talladega Superspeedway in 2013. Both drivers also have multiple wins in the Xfinity Series.
After Homestead-Miami, both Menard and Ragan will be looking forward to spending more time at home with family along with pursuing other opportunities.
Menard will make his 471st Cup Series start on Sunday as he looks to close out his career in search of a milestone win for Wood Brothers Racing.
“Honestly, I’m trying to take it as just another race,” Menard said. “But I know that will change when I get down to Homestead. I’ll probably get emotional at some point, but I’m still down there to drive the car and try to get the Wood Brothers their 100th win.”
Ragan’s start in the season finale will be the 470th of his career and he will be sporting a specially painted helmet in the race.
“My wife and two girls did a really neat thing,” Ragan said. “They surprised me with a special helmet that they drew and painted for the weekend at Homestead. I’m kind of a low-key kind of guy. I don’t know that I would have ever thought about doing something like that, but kudos to my wife for having that thought and for keeping it a secret because I had no idea that was going to happen.”
When the checkered flag flies on Ford Championship weekend, Ragan has expressed his interest in continuing to help Ford Performance.
“Ford Motor Company has been a really good partner of mine and a supporter of my career since day one, and so I’m working with those guys on how I can help the big picture from Ford Performance and how we can work on next year and the Next Generation car as it rolls out,” Ragan said. “I do still want to race some. I feel kind of weird saying I’m retiring. I’m 33 years old. I definitely want to race a few races here and there.”
Ragan would also like to compete in some of the series that helped lead him to NASCAR.
“I still have a short track car, a Legends car,” Ragan said. “I’ve looked at the ARCA schedule. I’ve looked at some Late Model races around the country that I’ve had the opportunity to run over the years and because I’ve been so committed to the Cup side I haven’t been able to do that.”