Over a period that spanned seven seasons, Matt DiBenedetto built himself up from a backmarker and underdog into someone who got to the doorstep of Victory Lane in the NASCAR Cup Series. In 2022, he will now begin again as he focuses on racing for wins and a championship in the NASCAR Camping World Truck Series.
On Thursday, Rackley W.A.R. announced that the team has hired Matt DiBenedetto as the full-time driver of its No. 25 Chevrolet Silverado for the 2022 season. DiBenedetto, a 30-year old whose resilience and overachievement made him a fan favorite in the Cup Series, joins the team after racing full-time at NASCAR's top level from 2015 to 2021.
Rackley W.A.R., a Nashville-based team owned by former Truck Series Rookie of the Year Willie Allen and businessman Curtis Sutton, entered the Truck Series full-time in 2021 as a complement to a successful late model program. The team's No. 25 was driven primarily by Timothy Peters and Josh Berry.
"I can honestly say that, at this time in my career, I am truly excited. I feel like I'm going back to my roots in a lot of ways," DiBenedetto said in a team release. "I love the feeling you immediately get when you talk to Curtis, Willie, [crew chief Chad Kendrick]; all the guys around this organization. They are all hard-core racers and everyone is extremely dedicated. This opportunity is a blessing to me and I'm really excited to do my part in taking this team to the next level."
After entering the Cup Series in 2015, DiBenedetto used overachievement in lesser equipment as a means of earning opportunities in better cars. Going from BK Racing to Go FAS Racing, to Leavine Family Racing and then Wood Brothers Racing, DiBenedetto has earned nine top 5 and 31 top 10 finishes in his Cup career with a best finish of second on three occasions. DiBenedetto also led the most laps (49) in the 2019 Daytona 500.
While a move to the Truck Series is generally thought of as a step down in weight class, going down from the Cup Series to the Truck Series is a move that others have been very successful in making. Drivers like Bobby Hamilton, Ted Musgrave, Todd Bodine, Johnny Benson and others became Truck Series champions after racing full-time in Cup. More recently, John Hunter Nemechek went from racing Cup in 2020 to leading the Truck Series in wins (five) and competing for the championship in 2021.
DiBenedetto becomes one of the bigger names who will run for the Truck Series championship in 2022. He will go up against defending series champion Ben Rhodes along with series veterans such as Nemechek, Grant Enfinger, Matt Crafton and others.