HOMESTEAD, Fla. – While Kyle Busch was celebrating his second Monster Energy NASCAR Cup Series championship, two veteran competitors quietly said goodbye to the sport.
David Ragan and Paul Menard wrapped up their full-time NASCAR careers on Sunday during the Ford EcoBoost 400 at Homestead-Miami Speedway, with each driver wrapping up their seasons and careers during the season finale.
Ragan, the 33-year-old native of Unadilla, Ga., finished 27th in the final race of his career. In 470 series starts dating back to 2006, Ragan earned two victories, 15 top-five and 40 top-10 finishes.
The best season of his career came in 2008 when he earned six top-five and 14 top-10 finishes, resulting in a 13th-place championship finish. He began his career driving for Roush Fenway Racing and competed in events for BK Racing, Michael Waltrip Racing and Joe Gibbs Racing during his Cup Series career.
“Our last race was really uneventful,” said Ragan, who spent the last three seasons of his career driving for Front Row Motorsports. “We tried some strategy a few times and it kind of bit us. We probably lost a lap or two that we shouldn’t have, but we were being aggressive because we didn’t really have anything to lose I can’t say enough about everybody at Front Row Motorsports and the NASCAR industry for making this last weekend special. It was a tough season. I wish we had some better results to show for it, but the last season won’t dictate my 13-year career. We’ve had a lot of fun, a lot of good memories and don’t regret anything that we’ve done.
“I’ll sleep good tonight and think a little bit over the offseason on what I want to do next year and I’m sure I’ll be around.”
Menard, 38, closed his full-time NASCAR career with a 17th-place finish at Homestead-Miami Speedway in the Wood Brothers Racing No. 21 Ford.
During a career that spanned 471 races, Menard’s lone victory came in the 2011 Brickyard 400 at Indianapolis Motor Speedway. He also collected 20 top-five and 69 top-10 finishes, with a best championship finish of 14th in 2015.
Menard’s first full-time season came in 2007 for Dale Earnhardt Inc. He also competed in events in cars fielded by Andy Petree, Yates Racing, Richard Petty Motorsports and Richard Childress Racing before ending his career driving for Wood Brothers Racing.
While Ragan’s replacement at Front Row Motorsports hasn’t been announced, Wood Brothers Racing have already hired Matt DiBenedetto to drive the No. 21 entry next season in place of Menard.