Wood Brothers Racing announced today that beginning in 2022, Harrison Burton will replace Matt DiBenedetto, who has piloted the No. 21 Ford the past two seasons.
DiBenedetto revealed that he learned of the news yesterday that Burton would take over the No. 21 in the 2022 NASCAR Cup Series season and said rather bluntly, “it does suck.”
“I’m going to be super honest. I’m not going to try and hide how I feel and what I feel,” DiBenedetto said. “You guys know what you see is what you get. Sometimes good, sometimes bad. Found out yesterday. When I found out, I tried to be like OK, been through this before. How do I handle this? God has a plan for me. There’s a greater plan. …
“But you know what? I didn’t really sleep last night and I thought about it and it’s OK to have human emotion and I’m not going to lie to you, it’s OK to be pissed off, angry and bitter and all of the above. It just is what it is. We’re humans. We’re not perfect.”
Meanwhile, Burton has five top fives and 11 top-10 finishes in 18 races this season, sitting fifth in the standings. The son of former NASCAR Cup Series driver and current NBC race analyst Jeff Burton, the 20-year-old Burton has participated full-time in NASCAR’s Xfinity and Camping World Truck Series since 2019. He won four Xfinity races last year en route to an eighth-place finish in the final point standings and series Rookie of the Year honors.
“Since I began racing quarter midgets, the hope and goal was always to become a full-time driver in the NASCAR Cup Series,” Burton said in a Wood Brothers release. “Now, I get to do this with one of the most storied teams in NASCAR history in the Wood Brothers and with an association with Ford Motor Company and Ford Performance. “
Team president and co-owner Eddie Wood said in a team release the importance of always keeping your ‘eye for the future’ and making decisions based on what’s best for the organization to ‘set yourself up for success long-term’.
“As things have progressed and changed over the last few months, we had the chance to look at what our options are and when we determined that Harrison would be available for our team, we wanted to jump at the opportunity to work with him,” said Wood. “Harrison is young, but comes from a family full of successful race car drivers. The advice and support they can offer to Harrison as he makes this transition will be very important to his success. What a lot of us forget is that he is not even 21 years old yet and has only been racing in both the Truck Series and Xfinity Series for a couple of years. So when we looked at the future and finding someone to build our program around, Harrison seemed like a great option.”
Wood Brothers Racing is the oldest active NASCAR team and one of the winningest teams in series history. The team currently has 99 victories at NASCAR’s top level, with the likes of David Pearson, Cale Yarborough, Neil Bonnett, Dan Gurney, AJ Foyt and Buddy Baker all visiting Victory Lane with the team. The organization also currently enjoys a technical relationship with Team Penske, which will continue into 2022, along with major support from Ford Performance
Sponsorship for the No. 21 will be announced at a later date, but will once again include support from Ford Quick Lane and Motorcraft.