Matt DiBenedetto and his ever-growing fan base can finally breathe a sigh of relief. On Thursday, Wood Brothers Racing made the official announcement that DiBenedetto will return to the No. 21 Ford Mustang for the 2021 NASCAR Cup Series season, ending months of speculation as to what the future held for the California-native.
DiBenedetto, 29, who has tied his career-best finish of second twice this season and made the NASCAR Cup Series Playoffs for the first time in his career is honored to return to the prestigious organization.
“It’s such an honor to be able to continue to drive for Wood Brothers Racing and have another year to grow with this organization,” said DiBenedetto in a team release. “I am excited to learn from our 2020 notebook and I’m confident that with a full season under our belt and working together as a team, we will produce even better results. I also want to thank Ford Performance and Team Penske for their efforts in making this happen. 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.”
DiBenedetto’s strong performance despite the odd circumstances of the 2020 season due to the COVID-19 pandemic, helped affirm the decision to stick with DiBenedetto for the Wood Brothers.
“Matt has been able to find success this year under very difficult circumstances,” said team President and Co-Owner Eddie Wood. “Since he joined our team, he only had limited time working with our group due to the pandemic. While it’s been an entirely new organization, he found a way to consistently run up front and make the Playoffs. We have learned a lot together this year and we look forward to continuing to build with Matt in 2021.”
With the stress of where he will be driving in 2021 out of the way, DiBendetto can focus solely on trying to snag that first career NCS victory.
This extra year in the No. 21 car for DiBenedetto will serve as an opportunity for his next ride, as it was also announced on Thursday that while DiBenedetto will return to the No. 21 in 2021, Austin Cindric will move into the seat for the 2022 NASCAR Cup Series season.
Toby is the Founder, Editor and go-to man for TobyChristie.com. He is also the co-host of The Final Lap Weekly Podcast. Additionally, Toby is a NMPA (National Motorsports Press Association) award winning writer, and has followed NASCAR as a fan since 1993.