ThorSport brings Paul Menard back to NASCAR competition with fifth COTA entry

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ThorSport brings Paul Menard back to NASCAR competition with fifth COTA entry
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ThorSport Racing announced Monday that Paul Menard would return to NASCAR national-series competition in this weekend’s Camping World Truck Series race at Circuit of the Americas.

Menard is scheduled to drive a fifth ThorSport entry, the No. 66 Toyota, in Saturday’s Toyota Tundra 225 (1 p.m. ET, FS1, MRN, SiriusXM). Mattei will provide sponsorship and Bud Haefele was tapped as the team’s crew chief.

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The 40-year-old Menard has not competed in a NASCAR national-series race since his retirement from full-time competition in the Cup Series after the 2019 season. He rounded out his Cup Series career with two seasons in the Wood Brothers’ No. 21 Ford, and was involved in picking Matt DiBenedetto as his successor.

Menard made 471 Cup Series from 2003-2019 and notched one victory, a breakthrough triumph in the 2011 Brickyard 400 at Indianapolis Motor Speedway. He also has three wins in the Xfinity Series, the most recent of which came in 2015 at Road America in his home state of Wisconsin.

Menard has just six career starts in Camping World Trucks — five in 2003 for team owner Andy Petree, and a one-off start for Billy Ballew in 2007.

Saturday’s Truck Series race is part of a same-day doubleheader with the Xfinity Series at the 3.41-mile Austin, Texas circuit, which will host NASCAR events for the first time this weekend.