NASCAR: Penske makes long-awaited confirmation at Talladega

Harrison Burton, Wood Brothers Racing (Team Penske), NASCAR (Photo by Sean Gardner/Getty Images)
Harrison Burton, Wood Brothers Racing (Team Penske), NASCAR (Photo by Sean Gardner/Getty Images) /

Roger Penske confirmed that Harrison Burton is set to remain with Wood Brothers Racing for the 2024 NASCAR Cup Series season.

One of the few remaining seats without a confirmed driver for the 2024 NASCAR Cup Series season following a slew of recent confirmations had been the No. 21 Wood Brothers Racing Ford, which is currently driven by second-year driver Harrison Burton.

Considering how past drivers of the No. 21 Ford have performed, with Ryan Blaney winning a race and making it to the round of 8 in 2017 and Matt DiBenedetto qualifying for the playoffs in 2020, there was speculation that Burton could be on the hot seat.

He finished in 27th place in the point standings as a rookie last year with just two top 10 finishes, and he has had an even worse season in 2023, having posted just two top 14 finishes in the season’s first 31 races to find himself 31st in points, ahead of only Spire Motorsports’ Ty Dillon among full-time drivers.

But Team Penske owner Roger Penske confirmed that Harrison Burton is set to return to Wood Brothers Racing in the 2024 NASCAR Cup Series season.

Team Penske and Wood Brothers Racing have had a technical alliance for the last several seasons, so if Penske says it, it is indeed confirmed. Burton also confirmed it over the weekend at Talladeaa Superspeedway.

Still, there will surely be questions about this decision, given not only Burton’s lack of overall performance since beginning his Cup Series career last year but because of his regression in year number two.

Additionally, it’s no secret that Ford have struggled in 2023, so keeping the exact same four-driver lineup at what has been the manufacturer’s top organization in recent years could raise some eyebrows.

Ryan Blaney, who won Sunday’s round of 12 playoff race at Talladega to clinch a spot in the round of 8, has been the lone bright spot for the team in the latter stages of the season, and even he has struggled since winning at Charlotte Motor Speedway in May.

Joey Logano has had a down year; it happens. He has won only one race and became the first reigning champion in the modern playoff era to be eliminated in the opening round of the postseason.

But in addition to Burton’s continued struggles with the Wood Brothers, Austin Cindric has been a total non-factor in his second season as Brad Keselowski’s replacement.

Next. All-time NASCAR Cup Series wins list. dark

You have to wonder if there will be changes in store for this organization after the 2024 season if there is a lack of improvement.