DiBenedetto keeps ride as Cindric promotion to Cup delayed
Team Penske found a year-long fix for Matt DiBenedetto while devising a long-term plan to get Austin Cindric into the Cup streak.
DiBenedetto's contract was extended on Thursday to drive for Wood Brothers Racing in 2021. Cindric, who is currently running for Penske in the Xfinity series, will take over the seat in 2022.
Cindric will compete in both the Xfinity series and select cup races next season. The 22-year-old son of Team Penske's President, Tim Cindric, showed this season that he is ready to move up to NASCAR's top streak. This could have cost DiBenedetto his place in the team associated with Penske.
"As we continue to position our team for future success, it is important to ensure that Austin continues his development in the Xfinity series with Team Penske," said Roger Penske. "Austin has come a long way in the last few years and has become a consistent winner and a true championship contender this season."
Penske said Cindric will drive one final season at Xfinity and then take over the # 21 Ford from DiBenedetto in 2022 when NASCAR's new car debuts.
Penske and the Wood Brothers formed a technical talent development alliance in 2015. Ryan Blaney began his trophy career in No. 21 before Penske pulled him into the house.
DiBenedetto really wanted to keep his place and has been campaigning for it publicly in recent weeks. He played the playoffs in his first year with the team, but retired after the first round.
DiBenedetto finished second for the past two weeks, but his second place in Talladega on Sunday was disqualified after NASCAR ruled that he drove under the limit.
"It is a great honor to continue racing for Wood Brothers Racing and to have another year to grow with this organization," said DiBenedetto. `` These types of decisions take a long time because we all know there are many factors involved. All three groups want to make the best decisions for everyone involved and I am delighted to have the opportunity to continue to fight for such a legendary racing team. ''
Wood Brothers Racing is the oldest active NASCAR team.
Cindric was meanwhile the regular season champion of the Xfinity Series and is currently driving for the championship. He has five wins this season and is currently runner-up overall.
'' Every racing driver wants to move forward in their career and I can't think of a better way than to do so on a clear path with Team Penske that will eventually lead to a full-time opportunity in the NASCAR Cup series. '' Said Cindric. '' Another season of Xfinity Series experience will be beneficial and I look forward to competing in some of the Cup Series races in 2021 to prepare for a full season in 2022. ''
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