Ryan Blaney Will Compete In A Third Team Penske Car, And Paul Menard Will Join Wood Brothers Racing In 2018

Ryan Blaney Will Compete In A Third Team Penske Car, And Paul Menard Will Join Wood Brothers Racing In 2018

by July 26, 2017

On Wednesday, the Monster Energy NASCAR Cup Series Silly Season was in full swing as it was announced that Ryan Blaney will join Team Penske in 2018, and Paul Menard will compete for Wood Brothers Racing.

Blaney will pilot the No. 12 Ford Fusion next season. He has been behind the wheel of the No. 21 Wood Brothers Racing Ford since the 2016 season. The single car team based in Virginia has a technical alliance with Team Penske. With the move to Team Penske in the Monster Energy NASCAR Cup Series, the 23-year-old will join Brad Keselowski and Joey Logano in the Captain’s stable.

“This is a huge opportunity for me and my career,” Blaney said in a Team Penske press release. “I’ve always enjoyed racing whatever car I was in and trying to win each and every race. I’ve had some great moments with both Team Penske and the Wood Brothers over the last few years. I know for a fact I wouldn’t be where I am today without Roger (Penske), Eddie and Len (Wood) and the opportunities their organizations have given me. I’m thrilled knowing that Brad (Keselowski) and Joey (Logano) are long-term teammates for me at Team Penske and Paul (Menard) will have input with our team now that he’s with the Wood Brothers organization. Hopefully we can go out there and win races and compete for championships year after year.”

Blaney earned his first career Monster Energy NASCAR Cup Series season win earlier this season at Pocono Raceway. He also carries five NASCAR XFINITY Series wins.

“For some time now, we have wanted to bring Ryan in to run a third car for us, but things just needed to make sense from a timing and business perspective,” said Roger Penske in a press release. “We have been working on making this a reality and 2018 is the right opportunity to make this move and return our organization to a three-car team. The benefits of having three full-time teams under our roof, along with the continued technical partnership with the Wood Brothers, will help us remain competitive in the ever-changing NASCAR landscape.”

Moving on to the No. 12 Team Penske Ford, Blaney leaves an open seat behind at Wood Brothers Racing. The missing puzzle piece was announced immediately, naming Paul Menard to be the driver of the No. 21 Wood Brothers Racing Ford Fusion beginning 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 in a Wood Brothers Racing press release. “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.”

Menard will step away from his No. 27 Menards Chevrolet at Richard Childress Racing. The Monster Energy NASCAR Cup Series veteran has one win that came during the 2011 Brickyard 400 at Indianapolis Motor Speedway. He has 14 years of experience in NASCAR’s premier series. Menard will bring his family-owned business sponsorship to the Wood Brothers Racing organization for a total of 22 races.

Photo Credit: Hunter Thomas/TheFourthTurn.com