When a NASCAR driver retires, he typically either quits cold turkey or moves on to other challenges.
Some even stay in racing as a team owner, broadcaster or some other type of role.
But that likely won’t be the case for NASCAR Cup driver Paul Menard, who has among the more unique post-retirement racing plans of any NASCAR driver past or present.
“I’m probably going to own an ice racing team at some point,” Menard said of his future plans Wednesday during the NASCAR Media Tour in Charlotte.
Yep, you know, the kind of thing they do on the frozen lakes and rivers in Menard’s native state of Wisconsin, as well as Minnesota, Canada and other points north. No matter if it’s a car, motorcycle, snowmobile, ATV or more, if it can hold its weight and not crash into the water, it’s a candidate for ice racing.
Why ice racing for Menard? First off, he’s been doing it since he was 15 years old. And while Menard has only one NASCAR Cup win (2011 Brickyard 4oo) and two Xfinity triumphs, he’s a 10-time event winner in International Ice Racing Association competition.
In the bigger picture, the 36-year-old Menard has been around racing his entire life. His father, John, founder of the Menards home improvement stores chain, spent more than 30 years in racing himself (he’s now retired), primarily as a team owner of several cars that competed in the Indianapolis 500. His teams also won the 1997 and 1998 Indy Racing League championships.
The younger Menard may eventually follow in his father’s footsteps, but for now – and after ice racing – he has NASCAR as his next priority if and when he would ever form or buy a team.
“As far as NASCAR, I’m going to leave the door open,” Menard said. “I have no idea. But whenever I do retire, I’m going to stay involved in motorsports.
“It’s a passion, it’s what I’ve always done, my whole family is involved and it’s all we do. When that day comes, I’m going to spend the season ice racing and go from there.”