Matt DiBenedetto to Drive for Wood Brothers Racing Next Year Before Austin Cindric Takes Over in 2022

Published 10/08/2020, 12:05 PM EDT
Sep 27, 2020; Las Vegas, Nevada, USA; NASCAR Cup Series driver Kurt Busch (1) leads driver Matt DiBenedetto (21) and the field for the restart of the South Point 400 at Las Vegas Motor Speedway. Mandatory Credit: Gary A. Vasquez-USA TODAY Sports


Over the past couple of weeks, Matt DiBenedetto had been left in the lurch with regard to his contract. Amid all the uncertainty, the 29-year-old remained optimistic about his chances of getting a contract extension.

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Now it seems that his patience and optimism are finally paying off. In the process, DiBenedetto is set to reunite with the #21 car. During his tenure with Wood Brothers Racing, the driver earned three Top-5 finishes and eight Top-10 results in 2020 alone.

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At the same time, the team announced that the NASCAR Xfinity Series star Austin Cindric will replace DiBenedetto full time in 2022 in the Cup Series. This is a big development for Cindric, who will also run select races for Team Penske in 2021.

Owing to this, DiBenedetto managed to qualify for the NASCAR Cup Series Playoffs for the first time in his six-year career. To further sweeten matters, he took the runner-up spot at both Las Vegas races this season. In addition to that, he came agonizingly close to a maiden Cup Series victory at the Talladega Superspeedway.

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What did Matt DiBenedetto say about the new contract?

Speaking about the new deal, the #21 driver said, “These types of decisions take a lot of time. As we all know there are a lot of factors in play. All three groups want to make the best decisions for everyone involved, and I’m appreciative to have the opportunity to continue to compete for such a legendary race team.”

Sep 27, 2020; Las Vegas, Nevada, USA; NASCAR Cup Series driver Kurt Busch (1) leads driver Matt DiBenedetto (21) and the field during the South Point 400 at Las Vegas Motor Speedway. Mandatory Credit: Gary A. Vasquez-USA TODAY Sports

His three Top-5 finishes add to a grand total of six Top-5 finishes. Meanwhile, his eight Top-10 finishes add to 19 Top-10 finishes. DiBenedetto’s contract places him with Wood Brothers for the 2021 season. However, Wood Brothers’ prospect, Cindric, will remain in the Xfinity series in 2021.

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In the meantime, Cindric will get a taste for Cup Series action, courtesy of select races with Team Penske. Speaking about Cindric, founder, Jay Penske said, “Austin has made great strides in recent years & he has become a consistent winner & a true championship contender this season. He will continue his natural progression & get some Cup Series experience in 2021.”

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Dhruv George

12023 articles

Dhruv George is a senior Formula One and NASCAR analyst for EssentiallySports, having authored nearly 12000 articles spanning different sports like F1, NASCAR, Tennis, NFL, and eSports. He graduated with a PG Diploma in Journalism from the Xavier Institute of Communications. Dhruv has also conducted interviews with F1 driver Pierre Gasly and Moto2 rider Tony Arbolino.

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