The wait is over; Matt DiBenedetto has landed a ride for the 2020 NASCAR Cup Series season. He is set to replace Paul Menard at Wood Brothers Racing.
Given Leavine Family Racing’s technical alliance with Joe Gibbs Racing, Joe Gibbs Racing Xfinity Series driver Christopher Bell has been tipped to land DiBenedetto’s ride behind the wheel of the #95 Toyota.
But the 28-year-old Grass Valley, California native, who gave up his ride at Go Fas Racing seeking a better opportunity for the 2019 season that he ultimately ended up landing, has landed another great opportunity in the Cup Series for next year.
Paul Menard announced that he is set to retire from Cup Series competition upon the conclusion of the 2019 season, leaving Wood Brothers Racing needing a driver for the #21 Ford next season.
DiBenedetto has been confirmed as that driver.
Here is how he responded on Twitter to this opportunity.
Wood Brothers Racing have a technical alliance with Team Penske, so DiBenedetto is slated to go from one solid team to another.
DiBenedetto has competed in the Cup Series since the 2015 season when he drove for BK Racing. He drove for BK Racing through the 2016 season before landing a ride with Go Fas Racing, where he stayed through the 2018 season before replacing Kasey Kahne at Leavine Family Racing after they formed a technical alliance with Joe Gibbs Racing and switched manufacturers from Chevrolet to Toyota.
DiBenedetto has competed in 166 races throughout his Cup Series career and recorded 10 top 10 finishes, of which three are top five finishes. He has recorded six of these top 10 finishes and all three of these top five finishes as the driver of the #95 Toyota, and he has done so in the last 11 races after starting the 2019 season with a top finish of 12th place in the first 15 races.
At Bristol Motor Speedway, where DiBenedetto finished in sixth place driving for BK Racing, his lone finish of better than 17th in 68 races for the team, he nearly secured the first victory of his Cup Series career in mid-August.
Leading the race with only a dozen laps to do, DiBenedetto got caught up behind lapped traffic and ended up damaging his car, allowing Joe Gibbs Racing’s Denny Hamlin to close in and take the lead before going on to win. DiBenedetto finished in a career-high second place and would have secured his first career playoff berth had he been able to seal the deal.
DiBenedetto’s best finish in the championship standings is 29th place, which he recorded in the 2018 season, but he is slated to top that this season, as he sits in 22nd with only 10 races remaining on the 36-race schedule.
Through the first 26 races of the 2019 season, DiBenedetto has led 143 of the 6,796 laps that he has completed and recorded an average starting position of 21.0 and an average finishing position of 19.2. Throughout his career, he has led 166 of the 44,465 laps that he has completed and recorded an average starting position of 29.5 and an average finishing position of 27.4.
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After spending the entire 2019 NASCAR Cup Series season fighting for his ride, Matt DiBenedetto has finally landed it with the confirmation that he is slated to replace Paul Menard behind the wheel of the #21 Ford at Wood Brothers Racing for the 2020 season.