Matt DiBenedetto will be remaining with the Wood Brothers for the 2021 NASCAR Cup Series, but his position will be later taken by Austin Cindric for the 2022 season.
The Wood Brothers team, in a two part announcement said that they had signed DiBenedetto for one-year contract extension to drive the #21 Ford Mustang in the 2021 NASCAR Cup Season. However, team Penske had also announced that it had signed Austin Cindric, whose father Tim is the organisation’s president, to a multi-year contract extension that would see him transition to the Wood Brothers Organisation in 2022 after another year in the NASCAR Xfinity Series.
Cindric is currently running second in the Xfinity series behind Chase Briscoe with only five races to go in the 2020 NASCAR Xfinity Series, Briscoe will also run in select NASCAR Cup races in 2021.
The Wood Brothers and Team Penske formed a technical alliance back in 2015 and the two teams have been working side by side in driver development opportunities in the past and most recently with the current team Penske driver Ryan Blaney.
“As we continue to position our team for future success, it is important to make sure Austin continues his development in the Xfinity Series with Team Penske,” said team owner Roger Penske.
“Austin has made great strides in recent years and he has become a consistent winner and a true championship contender this season.”
“He will continue his natural progression and get some Cup Series experience in 2021. That will help him prepare for a full season in 2022 with the new NextGen car, racing the #21 Ford Mustang for Wood Brothers Racing.” he added.
Austin Cindric went ahead to label the move as a big step in his long-term career.
“I am humbled and motivated by the opportunity and the confidence that Team Penske, Ford Performance, the Wood Brothers, and all of our partners have expressed in my abilities and my development as a driver,” he said.
“Every race car driver wants to advance in his career, and I can’t think of a better way to do that than on a clear path with Team Penske that will eventually lead to a full-time opportunity in the NASCAR Cup Series.”
“I’m really excited for this next chapter in my development to continue working towards competing and trying to win at the highest level.”
DiBenedetto joined the Wood Brothers this year and has already earned three top five finishes and eight top ten finishes so far this season. He also qualified for the NASCAR Cup Series playoffs for the first time.
“It’s such an honour to be able to continue to drive for Wood Brothers Racing and have another year to grow with this organisation,” he said.
“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.”