There are only five races remaining in the 2021 NASCAR Cup Series regular season. For Matt DiBenedetto, these dates serve as his only remaining opportunities to win and reach the playoffs while impressing potential bosses. However, DiBenedetto recently explained that all is quiet on the free agency front.
The driver of the No. 21 Wood Brothers Racing Ford Mustang took part in a media availability on Tuesday, July 13, to discuss the remaining races in the regular season. He also faced questions about his future. DiBenedetto is currently slated to become a free agent, opening up a spot for defending Xfinity Series champion Austin Cindric, but he has not engaged in any contract talks with Team Penske or any other organization.
“No, sir. Nothing yet. Everyone knows I’m a super open book, so what I’m telling you is 100% everything that I know, which is I don’t know anything more than any of you guys know,” DiBenedetto said, per Jayski. “There have been no talks, no nothing. From the Team Penske side, they’re usually pretty quiet. When I say pretty quiet, like very, very quiet. They like to keep it all kind of internal communication until they have a plan and then they communicate it to you. It’s kind of a wait-and-see game.”
DiBenedetto Is Fresh off Two Strong Performances
While DiBenedetto has yet to win a race in his Cup Series career, he is performing well overall despite dealing with a wide array of issues. His most two recent outings — Road America and Atlanta Motor Speedway — were top-10 finishes.
The July 4 race at Road America, in particular, served as DiBenedetto’s strongest performance of the year. He led 10 laps while battling with Kyle Busch, Chase Elliott, and Austin Cindric. He also fought through tire issues to crack the top 10.
One week later, DiBenedetto headed to Atlanta Motor Speedway with his fellow Cup Series drivers. He suited up for the Quaker State 400 presented by Walmart and consistently raced in the front half of the field. He added more points to his total with a ninth-place finish and remained on the outskirts of the playoff picture.
“The cool part is that we are showing that we have made good efforts to make our 21 team better and that we’re here to win, and the proof is in the pudding,” DiBenedetto added during his July 13 availability. “We’re now performing, running up front, leading laps. We’ve turned this whole program around. It’s clicking and all these things, so that does nothing but just help my situation moving forward, showing that we have the ability to go out there and contend for wins.”
Another Cup Series Driver Awaits Updates About 2022
DiBenedetto is not the only driver waiting to learn his future plans. Cindric, who drives for Team Penske in the Xfinity Series, also has a lack of information about the 2022 season. He knows that he has a job but does not know whether it is in the No. 2 Team Penske Ford Mustang or the No. 21 Wood Brothers Racing Ford Mustang.
The original plan was for Cindric to replace DiBenedetto in the No. 21 Ford Mustang after the 2021 season. However, reports surfaced in mid-May that Roush Fenway Racing had offered Brad Keselowski a driver-owner role for 2022 and beyond.
While neither party confirmed the existence of this offered deal, Adam Stern of the Sports Business Journal reported that Keselowski’s move to RFR was “a done deal.” This reported move seemingly left an open seat in the No. 2 Ford Mustang.
“I know I have a job,” Cindric told Fox Sports reporter Bob Pockrass after an Xfinity Series race at Texas Motor Speedway. “I’ve known I have a job since September of last year. That’s all I know.”