Matt DiBenedetto Shuts Down Contract Rumors

Matt DiBenedetto

Getty Matt DiBenedetto arrives at Richmond Raceway on Sept. 11.

The driver of the No. 21 Wood Brothers Racing Ford Mustang just set the record straight. Matt DiBenedetto shut down rumors that he had signed a deal with Kaulig Racing for the 2022 season and confirmed that he has not yet made a decision about his NASCAR future.

“The news floating around that I signed with Kaulig Racing for next year is false,” DiBenedetto tweeted on Sunday, Sept. 12. “Not sure how the rumor got started but I keep getting a ton of texts about it so I had to clear that up.” The driver of the No. 21 also tagged Fox Sports reporter Bob Pockrass to further distribute the clarification to people on Twitter.

DiBenedetto will become a free agent at the end of the season. Wood Brothers Racing will replace him in the No. 21 Ford Mustang with Harrison Burton, a current member of the Joe Gibbs Racing Xfinity Series stable. DiBenedetto does not yet have a seat secure for the 2022 season, but he is examining his options.

DiBenedetto Remains Focused on Finishing the 2021 Season Strong

Matt DiBenedetto

GettyNASCAR driver Matt DiBenedetto prepares for a race at Daytona.

While the veteran driver has work to do before the 2022 season begins, he has more pressing things to take care of. DiBenedetto has yet to win a race in his Cup Series career, and he remains focused on achieving this goal before leaving Wood Brothers Racing.

DiBenedetto has come close to winning multiple times in the Cup Series. He finished second during both trips to Las Vegas Motor Speedway in 2020, finishing behind Joey Logano in the Pennzoil 400 on Feb. 23 and behind Kurt Busch in the playoff race on Sept. 27. DiBenedetto also took second at Bristol Motor Speedway behind Denny Hamlin in 2019.

While DiBenedetto has yet to lock up a win in 2021, he has contended with three top-five finishes. He placed fifth in the Geico 500 at Talladega Superspeedway after losing his lead on the final restart while attempting to block both lanes. He followed that performance up with fourth at Kansas Speedway. DiBenedetto added another top-five during the trip to Indianapolis Motor Speedway’s road course, finishing fifth after avoiding several on-track incidents that destroyed stock cars.

If DiBenedetto can win before the end of the 2021 season, he will mark a historic moment in team history. Wood Brothers Racing has sat at 99 wins since Ryan Blaney took the No. 21 Ford to Victory Lane at Pocono Raceway on June 11, 2017. DiBenedetto has publicly stated several times that his goal is to notch the 100th win in team history, and he will fight to do so before leaving the No. 21.

DiBenedetto Remains Open to Multiple Possibilities for 2022

While he does not yet have a seat for 2022, DiBenedetto remains open to the possibilities. He spoke to Davey Segal of “Frontstretch” before the road course race at Watkins Glen International on Aug. 8 and confirmed that he will “entertain anything” in regard to the 2022 season.

DiBenedetto explained during his media availability that a move to the Xfinity Series would be a possibility he would consider. He previously stated that he wanted to remain in the Cup Series and pursue the Bill France Cup, but he used the time at Watkins Glen to provide clarification.

The Xfinity Series lineup remains in flux as the end of the regular season approaches. Burton will move to Cup, which will open up a spot with Joe Gibbs Racing, but other teams have yet to make decisions about some of their drivers. There are currently too many questions about which teams will have openings available and which will simply bring back their current drivers.

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