CHARLOTTE, N.C. — Paul Menard has decided to walk away from NASCAR’s top level after more than 460 races and Wood Brothers Racing is replacing him with Matt DiBenedetto in the iconic No. 21 Ford next season.

After spending 16 years in the Cup Series, Menard said Tuesday he wants to step back from full-time racing to spend more time with his family. The 39-year-old driver, whose only win came at the Brickyard 400 in 2011, has two young children with his wife, Jennifer.

Menard joins David Ragan in becoming the second veteran driver to retire this season.

His decision is a gift to DiBenedetto, who has been solid this season but learned last month he wasn’t being retained at Leavine Family Racing next year. And with few rides expected to be available this offseason, the 28-year-old DiBenedetto was unsure if he would land a competitive ride.

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