Conflicting emotions for DiBenedetto over Wood Brothers decision

John Harrelson/Motorsport Images

Conflicting emotions for DiBenedetto over Wood Brothers decision

NASCAR

Conflicting emotions for DiBenedetto over Wood Brothers decision

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In a nine-minute video posted on his social media channels, Matt DiBenedetto said “there is a greater plan” for him after being informed he’s being replaced at Wood Brothers Racing next season.

“I didn’t really sleep well last night and woke up this morning, 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 the above,” DiBenedetto said. “It just is what it is. We’re humans; we’re not perfect. That doesn’t change my faith and knowing there’s a plan for all this. But it doesn’t make it not suck, because it does suck.

“So, yeah, that is what it is. Why would I say that I’m upset and it sucks? Well, obviously, I don’t know what I’m doing next year.”

Harrison Burton will take the No. 21 Ford Mustang seat next season. It was initially set to be Austin Cindric, which was announced last year and gave DiBenedetto time to figure out his future. But things became fluid and more complicated when rumors began that Brad Keselowski was going to leave Team Penske, the alliance partner of the Wood Brothers.

Cindric now goes to Team Penske, and the Wood Brothers are starting fresh with a rookie in Burton. DiBenedetto has driven for the Wood Brothers for two seasons.

DiBenedetto asked his fans not to attack Wood Brothers Racing, who he considers family. He was informed of the decision Wednesday night and admitted he did not think it was worth asking for a reason behind the driver change.

“Why would I have these emotions? Because I was so freaking lucky and still am to be driving the 21 car,” DiBenedetto continued. “Love it, and I want to get that 100th win for them bad. But this 21 team has also been broken for a while; tried to give the benefit of the doubt, work through it, give all your effort to it, try and make it work and make it click, and it wasn’t, and I’ve said it for a long time: Our team wasn’t clicking. That’s no disrespect to anyone, no particular person. It just wasn’t working. Weren’t executing.

“I’ll be the first to say before everybody, performance wasn’t where it needed to be. We’d have some speed and some good runs and finish second, and this and that, have speed, but it just wasn’t clicking. It’s like a relationship with your wife or your friends or family, relationship with your team. It wasn’t there; it wasn’t working.

While recent personnel changes appear to have helped DiBenedetto and the Wood Brothers team, the driver admits the shake-up came too late. John Harrelson/Motorsport Images

“It took too long, and we finally shook things up. I care about people a lot, sometimes to a fault, and let me tell you … your biggest regret in life will be wasting time. Time is the one thing you can’t get back in life. That’s kind of what’s biting me right now. We wasted some time, and I’ll take some of the blame for it; it’s not just one particular person. … We let our team be broken for too long.”

Wood Brothers changed crew chiefs for DiBenedetto going into the All-Star Race at Texas Motor Speedway last month. The team’s performance has started to pick up, and DiBenedetto finished in the top 10 the last two weeks at Road America and Atlanta.

As the video continued, DiBenedetto admitted to expressing his frustration and “I’m getting the (expletive) end of the deal.

“Again, I’m not angry at anyone in particular. What I’m trying to say is, it doesn’t make the situation not suck.”

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