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What Is Going On With Matt DiBenedetto?

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Joshua Lipowski

Joshua Lipowski

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Matt DiBenedetto has been in the headlines due to his surprising announcement that he would be leaving Rackley WAR in 2024. Well, he was in the headlines again on Tuesday night after Rackley WAR announced that they would make a driver change for the final three races of the season, making DiBenedetto leave the team three races early.

DiBenedetto responded on Twitter expressing his disappointment. He thanked NASCAR, Craftsman, and the fans, but he left out Rackley WAR.

So, what in the world happened? What went into this decision by Rackley WAR, and what does this mean for the future of DiBenedetto?

Why Would Rackley WAR Cut DiBenedetto Early?

The best place to start when discussing this is to look at the original split between the two parties, which happened in the week leading up to the Southern 500 at Darlington Raceway. Matt DiBenedetto said in his original statement

“After careful consideration, I have decided not to return to Rackley W.A.R. for the 2024 race season.”

Matt DiBenedetto

Meanwhile, Rackley W.A.R. seemed to be singing a different tune with their statement. They claimed that it was a “Mutual decision” to part ways in 2024. A mutual decision to part ways and a driver who just essentially announced he would not re-sign a contract are two very different things.

The bottom line is that we do not know what totally happened behind the scenes, but once DiBenedetto announced he was leaving, Rackley W.A.R. had to turn their focus to 2024. For some reason, it seems that whatever plans they have for 2024 will be best suited if DiBenedetto is out of the truck for the final three races. Even so, it’s an odd move as it very rarely happens, but it is not totally unprecedented in NASCAR.

In the Cup Series in 2012, Kurt Busch spent the majority of the season with James Finch and Phoenix Racing, but Busch signed to join Furniture Row Racing for the 2013 season. Furniture Row decided to take current driver Regan Smith out of the car and put Busch in the car for the final six races of the 2012 season.

Unless something went on behind the scenes that we do not know about, the only reason this move makes any sense is if Rackley W.A.R. has a driver in mind for that 25 truck for the final three races. It seemed based on their statement that something is in the works, and Talladega is still a week and a half away. They have time, albeit not much of it.

What Does This Mean for Matt DiBenedetto?

If there is anything positive to take from this if you are DiBenedetto, it’s that you have a head start of sorts on offseason free agency. Instead of racing, he can dedicate all of his time to finding out where his next step is. We even took a look at where his next step could be for 2024.

Even so, it’s tough to put a positive spin on this for him. Considering how far he has helped take that team over the last two seasons, it is tough for him to hear that he will not be able to finish out the season with them. Although, it’s hard to paint him as the total victim of a greedy team owner when he himself said he decided to leave the team for 2024.

It’s not an ideal situation for him, but it doesn’t change his situation all that much. He still is looking for a ride for the 2024 season. Even if his time at Rackley W.A.R. ended earlier than he expected, it doesn’t change his current standing in NASCAR free agency or his 2024 prospects at all.

Who Could Rackley W.A.R. Be Looking to Replace Matt DiBenedetto with?

This is even harder to predict as many of these smaller Truck Series teams tend to find drivers that are not in the public eye as much as other drivers in the series. Daniel Dye is an interesting name as he announced he has a ride for 2024, but he will not say where. Rajah Caruth is Dye’s teammate with GMS, and GMS is closing down at the end of the year.

Maybe even Noah Gragson could join this team in 2024 as he searches for where to find his footing in NASCAR. Gragson may be able to find a ride with a better race team, but Rackley W.A.R. probably has at least brought his name up in a board meeting. Aside from those bigger names, it could be some random driver that is not on the minds of many plugged into NASCAR Silly Season.

This is obviously a messy situation, but, it is not an unprecedented one per se. It does not change much in terms of where either party stands heading into 2024, but it does move the timeline of some of the changes up a few weeks. Who knows what will happen from here?

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Joshua Lipowski

Joshua Lipowski

All Posts