Matt DiBenedetto
30-Year-Old Driver  
Wood Brothers Racing
2021 Fantasy Outlook
DiBenedetto's good 2020 season earned him just one more year in the Wood Brothers Racing Ford. Youngster Austin Cindric is primed to take over this ride in 2022, so DiBenedetto is living on borrowed time this season. The veteran driver earned career-best marks with three Top-5, 11 Top-10 finishes and a 13th-place effort in the driver point standings. With performance like that it's hard to believe DiBenedetto is on the hot seat, but he is with Cindric coming the following season. We need to consider 2021 his audition to stay in the Cup Series. Many teams will be watching what the veteran driver does very closely. The motivation, will and desire to post as good, if not better numbers this season will not be an issue. DiBenedetto already races like his hair is on fire, and now he's looking to find a new team for 2022. Read Past Outlooks
Fifth-Place at the Brickyard
NASCAR Cup
August 15, 2021
DiBenedetto finished fifth in the Verizon 200 NASCAR Cup Series race at the Indianapolis Motor Speedway road course Sunday afternoon.
ANALYSIS
The Wood Brothers Racing veteran would benefit from a wild finish to this Indianapolis road course event. DiBenedetto would work his way inside the Top 10 during stage 2 and stay there for the remainder of the race. The two major crashes near the end of the event would thin the field, but DiBenedetto would be skilled enough to driver through unscathed. He would hold off veteran Kurt Busch on the second overtime finish and collect the strong fifth-place finish at the checkered flag. It was his third Top 5 of the season.
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Past Fantasy Outlooks
2020
2019
2018
2017
2014
DiBenedetto is coming off simply an incredible and surprising campaign in 2019. He piloted the small Leavine Family Racing team's Toyota to three Top-5 and seven Top-10 finishes and managed a career-best 22nd-place in the final driver standings. It was a pretty significant jump in performance for the journeyman driver. DiBenedetto's season highlight was easily his near-brush with victory lane in the Bristol night race. He led 93 laps late in that event and looked like a sure winner before Denny Hamlin tracked him down in the closing laps. The runner-up finish was still an incredible feat at a tough short track. DiBenedetto now takes over the seat of the storied No. 21 Wood Brothers Racing Ford. He replaces the just-retired Paul Menard at this team. DiBenedetto should push to retain similar performance at this very capable race team, and challenge the Top 20 in driver points.
DiBenedetto ended a two season relationship with Go FAS Racing and will join Leavine Family Racing for the 2019 season. The 27-year-old journeyman driver is now with his third race team in five years, and this could be his best situation yet. DiBenedetto labored to just one Top-10 finish all of last season, and his 27.0 average finish was a career best mark, but only amounted to a 29th-place finish in the final points of 2018. LFR has made great strides with Michael McDowell and Kasey Kahne the last few years and they see this young driver as the next step in their progression. Crew Chief Mike Wheeler comes in from Joe Gibbs Racing (Denny Hamlin) and will take over the leadership role for the team. The pairing of DiBenedetto and Wheeler is a promising link up. This team could move from a 30th-place team to pushing the Top-25 in 2019.
DiBenedetto wound up making the best out of his situation at Go Fas Racing last season. The 26-year-old Californian took the No. 32 Ford team to new heights and posted good finishes in this small single-car team. DiBenedetto nabbed two Top-10 finishes (Daytona & Indianapolis) and he grabbed five Top-20 finishes. It all led to a 32nd-place finish in the final driver points, and a 27.1 average finish for the 36 events. It was the best campaign of his three-season Monster Energy Cup Series career. DiBenedetto returns to this team in 2018, and crew chief Gene Nead also returns to guide the effort. If he hopes to improve in his fourth Cup season, DiBenedetto will need to reduce the DNF's. He had six of those last year, and it was a bit of a drag on his consistency.
After two full seasons of Monster Energy Cup Series racing with BK Racing, DiBenedetto comes over to Go FAS Racing for the 2017 season. The young driver will team up with veteran crew chief Gene Nead and run the full season for this single-car operation. GFR has purchased some new cars from Richard Petty Motorsports and they plan on racing more competitively this season. DiBenedetto posted his first-career Top-10 finish (Bristol) in 2016 and showed some incremental improvement over his rookie campaign. Those are good signs as he heads over from BK Racing to Go FAS Racing. This team has used multi-driver lineups since their inception five years ago, so to commit to a single driver for an entire season marks a first at GFR. It really shows what they think of DiBenedetto's capabilities and talents.
The 23-year-old Californian launched his Sprint Cup Series career with BK Racing last season. DiBenedetto made 33 of the 36 events and registered only four top-25 finishes, with most coming early in the season. While it has not been officially announced that the team and this young driver are returning in 2016, it's assumed that they will race again in the upcoming season. Gene Nead took over the crew chief duties of the team midway into last season, and he would be expected to return in that capacity. Due to the limited budget and limited resources of this small team, not much if any improvement is expected in the near future.
More Fantasy News
Wins Internet Fan Vote
NASCAR Cup
June 13, 2021
DiBenedetto won the internet fan vote and will transfer into the field for Sunday night's All-Star Race at Texas Motor Speedway.
ANALYSIS
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Gets new crew chief
NASCAR Cup
June 8, 2021
Jonathan Hassler will take over as the crew chief for DiBenedetto and the No. 21 Wood Brothers Ford Mustang, the team announced Tuesday.
ANALYSIS
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Top 5 at Kansas
NASCAR Cup
May 2, 2021
DiBenedetto finished fourth in the Buschy McBusch Race 400 at Kansas Speedway Sunday afternoon.
ANALYSIS
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Fifth-Place in GEICO 500
NASCAR Cup
April 25, 2021
DiBenedetto finished fifth in the GEICO 500 at Talladega Superspeedway Sunday afternoon.
ANALYSIS
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Bumped to rear of field
NASCAR Cup
March 29, 2021
DiBenedetto will roll off near the rear of the field Monday due to unapproved adjustments, per a release from NASCAR.
ANALYSIS
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