When you look up stoic in the dictionary, under the synonyms tab you will see indifferent, cold-blooded and somewhere in there will be Paul Menard.
You could probably count the amount of smiles that the Wisconsin native has flashed over his 13-year Monster Energy NASCAR Cup Series career on one hand, but for that matter the same can be said for the amount of times he has voiced anger for something as well.
Menard, 39, is just a cool, reserved individual.
But as he is set to walk away from full-time NASCAR Cup Series racing at the end of 2019, is emotion finally starting to set in?
“Not really,” Menard said after qualifying at Texas Motor Speedway. “The emotions came during the decision making process. But once I made my decision, you live life after that. Not really emotional, I’m looking forward to what the future holds.”
What does the future hold for a guy who is about to retire from the pressure-packed world of NASCAR, who is a former winner of the Brickyard 400?
“Honestly, just have fun,” Menard explained. “Drive some different cars that I’ve run before. Ice race. I ran some Trans-Am cars way back when and got to drive a TA2 car earlier this year and that’s really cool. So just play around with some stuff like that and maybe try some cars that I haven’t driven before.”
Menard is a 10-time winner in ice racing, so it seems a natural fit that he would slide back into some competition on the frosty land of Wisconsin. It’s also perfect, because it’s a low-key fun form of racing.
“It’s not very big from the standpoint that nobody really wants to come out and freeze their asses off, but it sure is fun to drive,” Menard said. “There’s a little series up there called the International Ice Racing Association. It’s been around for a long time, and they still put on a few races. So, I’ll try to go do a few.”
In addition to ice racing, Menard also has aspirations of competing on legendary road courses that he has not had the opportunity to drive at due to his NASCAR obligations over the years.
“There’s some great road courses in North America that I haven’t been to — Laguna Seca, Mid-Ohio, Sebring,” said Menard. “I’ve been to a lot of great ones too. And obviously, the Nürburgring is on everybody’s bucket list.”
While he hasn’t been the flashiest of characters in NASCAR, and he has rarely let folks in on any emotions that he was feeling over the course of his career, it sure feels like Menard has an awesome plan for staying busy after he steps away from NASCAR in a couple of weeks.
Toby is the Founder, Editor and go-to man for TobyChristie.com. He is the co-host of The Final Lap Weekly Podcast. Additionally, Toby is a NMPA (National Motorsports Press Association) award winning writer, and has followed the sport as a fan since 1993.