NASCAR: Replacement confirmed for driver released before Talladega

Matt DiBenedetto, Rackley WAR, NASCAR Truck Series (Photo by Meg Oliphant/Getty Images)
Matt DiBenedetto, Rackley WAR, NASCAR Truck Series (Photo by Meg Oliphant/Getty Images) /

Rackley WAR’s replacement for Matt DiBenedetto has been confirmed for this coming weekend’s NASCAR Truck Series race at Talladega Superspeedway.

Just weeks after confirming that he would not be back for a third year with Rackley WAR in the 2024 NASCAR Truck Series season, Matt DiBenedetto was released by the team with three races remaining on the 2023 schedule, an unexpected move that left the veteran disappointed as he works on solidifying his plans for next year.

The decision left the No. 25 Chevrolet without a driver for the remaining three races at Talladega Superspeedway, Homestead-Miami Speedway, and Phoenix Raceway. Now Rackley WAR have confirmed their new driver for one of those three races.

Chandler Smith, who competes full-time for Kaulig Racing in the Xfinity Series and remains in championship contention, is set to drive the No. 25 Chevrolet in the Love’s RV Stop 250 at Talladega this coming Saturday, September 30.

Smith is indeed allowed to compete in this race, despite it being a Truck Series playoff race and him being a full-time Xfinity Series driver.

Chandler Smith has not competed in a NASCAR Truck Series race yet this year.

Smith’s start in this 94-lap race around the four-turn, 2.66-mile (4.281-kilometer) high-banked Lincoln, Alabama oval will mark his first start since the 2022 season finale at Phoenix Raceway.

In three previous starts at Talladega in the series, he has recorded finishes of third, 19th, and 14th place, respectively. His two Xfinity Series starts at the track have both resulted in DNFs.

The team’s decision to drop DiBenedetto ahead of the one race he won since joining the team last season, especially amid an overall improvement from a year ago, is a bit baffling, and putting Smith in the truck doesn’t exactly give them a good look at a 2024 driver possibility, since Smith is likely to remain in the Xfinity Series.

No confirmations have been made regarding the No. 25 Chevrolet for the upcoming races at Homestead on Saturday, October 21 and Phoenix on Friday, November 3.

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The Love’s RV Stop 250 is set to be broadcast live from Talladega Superspeedway on Fox Sports 1 beginning at 1:00 p.m. ET this Saturday, September 30. If you have not yet begun a free trial of FuboTV, do so now!