Matt DiBenedetto on losing Wood Brothers Racing ride: ‘It does suck’

In a nearly nine-minute video posted to Facebook, Matt DiBenedetto did not hold back his emotions about losing his seat for the 2022 NASCAR Cup Series season with the No. 21 Wood Brothers Racing Ford.

DiBenedetto revealed that he learned of the news yesterday that Harrison Burton would pilot the famed No. 21 in the 2022 NASCAR Cup Series season and said rather bluntly, “it does suck.”

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“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.” 

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DiBenedetto reflected a bit on his time with the Wood Brothers — a tenure that will last two seasons (2020-21) and saw him nearly win at Talladega Superspeedway this spring. He called the Woods “family to me” and that he wants “to get that 100th win for them bad.”

The 29-year-old expressed frustration with his season to date as he sits outside the playoff picture in 18th in points heading to New Hampshire especially after he made the NASCAR Playoffs in 2020. He referred to the 21 team as “broken for a while” and how it “took too long” to shake things up.  The Wood Brothers made a crew chief change before the All-Star Race with Jonathan Hassler taking over for Greg Erwin and the driver indicated that the change gave his team a jump-start with back-to-back top 10s at Road America and Atlanta Motor Speedway.

“Our team is clicking,” DiBenedetto said of his July runs thus far. “Finally. But guess what? It’s too late. I know it’s going to work out like it’s supposed to, but I’m just expressing my frustration with the way it is. I’m getting the (expletive) end of the deal. I’m not angry at any one in particular. It doesn’t make the situation not suck.” 

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Now, DiBenedetto finds himself in a position he has been in before. A pending free agent — looking for a new ride. It worked out for him when he bet on himself to leave Go Fas Racing in 2018 for Leavine Family Racing in 2019. And it worked out again when there was no seat for him at Leavine but he was able to land with the Wood Brothers and replace the retiring Paul Menard for the 2020 season.

Despite the bad news, the driver remains as optimistic as ever that his time in Victory Lane is coming.

“There’s still a lot of season left,” DiBenedetto said. “The positives are we do have our team on track so we can go kick ass. That’s the great thing that’s already shown. And I’m appreciative and I want to desperately get the 100th win for the Wood Brothers because like I said, they are and always will be family to me. And I am super appreciative of the opportunity.

“I’m here to win in the Cup Series. I am going to. Through all the heartache, all the frustration, all the obstacles, all the craziness … I am going to overcome all that and we are going to win. I feel confident that we are in the best position to go out there and do that finally and my future is going to be full of that and we’re going to have success.”