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Matt DiBenedetto
Pool Photo-USA TODAY NETWORK via Imagn Content Services, LLC
Look Ahead

The running of the 2021 Daytona 500 in 55 days

by Anthony Ballantoni
Updated On: December 20, 2020, 1:42 pm ET

Only 55 days remain before the green flag drops to start the NASCAR Cup Series season-opening Daytona 500. Here is a brief look at Cup Series 13th-placed Matt DiBenedetto’s 2020 NASCAR season and snapshots on few other drivers who finished in the Top-20 across NASCAR’s three premium series. The tentative list of 2021 Cup Driver/Team lineups attached shows only those teams who plan on entering all events. Since some have yet to announce their 2021 plans, follow NASCAR Headlines and "Player" News on this site for the latest driver/team updates.

                    NASCAR Cup Series (NCS)

2020: William Byron (Hendrick Motorsports #24 Chevrolet Camaro) - In 36 races, the Charlotte, NC native scored 1 win, 4 top-fives, 14 top-tens, had a 14.9 average start, a 16.19 average finish and led 140 laps. Due to his victory in the regular season-ending August 29th Coke Zero Sugar 400 at Daytona, Byron made the NCS Playoffs Round of 16. He was eliminated before the Round of 12 and closed out the season 14th in the NCS standings.
2021: Byron is contracted through 2022 to pilot the #24 Camaro. It was announced that Byron’s crew chief Chad Knaus was promoted to VP of Competition at Hendrick Motorsports at the end of 2020. Rudy Fugle will make the calls from the pit box in 2021. Axalta and Liberty University continue as Byron’s primary sponsors.

2020: Matt DiBenedetto (Wood Brothers Racing #21 Ford Mustang) - In 36 races, the Grass Valley, CA native scored 3 top-fives, 11 top-tens, had a 14.0 average start, a 14.75 average finish and led 91 laps. His best finishes were both at Las Vegas Motor Speedway. He finished 2nd to Joey Logano in the February 23rd Pennzoil 400 and also 2nd to Kurt Busch in the September 27th South Point 400. At the end of the regular season, DiBenedetto was 16th in points which earned him a spot in the NCS Playoffs Round of 16. He was eliminated before the Round of 12 and closed out the season 13th in the NCS standings.
2021: DiBenedetto's contract was ending after the 2020 season but Wood Brothers Racing extended it for one more year. XFINITY Series driver Austin Cindric is scheduled to take over the #21 Ford in 2022. Team Penske has an option to pick up DiBenedetto's contract for 2022. For now, DiBenedetto will continue at Wood Brothers, Greg Erwin returns as crew chief and Motorcraft/Quick Lane will also be the primary sponsor for the #21 Mustang.

           NASCAR XFINITY Series (NXS)

2020: Josh Williams (DGM Racing #92 Chevrolet Camaro) - In 33 races, the Port Charlotte, FL native scored 6 top-tens, had an 18.9 average start, an 18.64 average finish, led 2 laps and closed out the season 14th in the NXS standings. His best finish was 6th in the Kansas Lottery 300 on October 17th at Kansas Speedway. Williams won the 3rd-quarter National Motorsports Press Association Pocono Spirit Award for his hospital tours benefiting seriously ill children. For each annual season-ending race, his car carries a paint scheme with the names and handprints of the children he’s met with during his travels.
2021: Williams will run another full season in the DGM #92. No official word yet on crew chief (Adam Brenner held that spot in 2020) or sponsors for the team.

2020: Jeremy Clements (Jeremy Clements Racing #51 Chevrolet Camaro) - In 33 races, the Spartanburg, SC native scored 1 top-five, 5 top-tens, had a 17.3 average start, a 17.39 average finish, led 12 laps and closed out the season 13th in the NXS standings. His best finish was 3rd in the June 28th Pocono Green 225 at Pocono Raceway.
2021: Owner/Driver Clements will be back for the full season in the #51 Camaro. Andrew Abbott, Clements’ crew chief for the past two years, will be replaced by Mark Setzer for the new year. No sponsorship news for the #51 team at this time.

         NASCAR Camping World Truck Series (NTS)

2020: Tanner Gray (DGR Crosley #15 Ford F-150) - In 23 races, the Artesia, NM native scored 4 top-fives, 8 top-tens, had a 15.4 average start, a 16.13 average finish, led 4 laps and closed out his rookie season 14th in the truck series standings. His best truck series finishes were 3rd places in the Aug. 7th Henry Ford Health System 200 at Michigan Int’l Speedway, the Sept. 17th UNOH 200 at Bristol Motor Speedway and the Sept. 25th World of Westgate 200 at Las Vegas Motor Speedway. Gray also drove DGR Crosley’s #17 Ford in 6 of the ARCA Menards Series 20-race season scoring 2 top-fives, 3 top-tens and averaged a 10.3 finish.
2021: DGR-Crosley has not firmed up their driver assignments for the Camping World Trucks and ARCA series but Tanner Gray will most likely be present in the lineup.

2020: Johnny Sauter (ThorSport Racing #13 Ford F-150) - In 23 races, the Necedah, WI native scored 3 top-fives, 8 top-tens, had a 12.7 average start, a 17.09 average finish, led 79 laps and closed out the season 13th in the truck series standings. His best truck series finish
was a 2nd place in the February 21st Strat 200 at Las Vegas Motor Speedway.
2021: Sauter is expected to return for his 3rd season in ThorSport’s #13 Ford F-150. No changes announced including Joe Shear Jr. as crew chief and sponsors Tenda Heal, Sakar, Vivitar and Altex Lansing.

                      2021 Tentative NCS Series Team Chart

Car Driver Owner Crew Chief Sponsor
00 Chevy Quin Houff StarCom Racing George Church -
1 Chevy Kurt Busch  Chip Ganassi Racing Matt McCall Monster Energy
2 Ford Brad Keselowski Team Penske Jeremy Bullins Discount Tire
3 Chevy Austin Dillon Richard Childress Racing Justin Alexander -
4 Ford Kevin Harvick Stewart-Haas Racing Rodney Childers Busch Beer, Mobil 1, Hunt Brothers Pizza
5 Chevy Kyle Larson Hendrick Motorsports Cliff Daniels -
6 Ford Ryan Newman Roush Fenway Racing Scott Graves Oscar Mayer, Wyndham Rewards, Castrol, Guaranteed Rate
7 Chevy Corey LaJoie Spire Motorsports Ryan Sparks -
8 Chevy Tyler Reddick  Richard Childress Racing Randall Burdett Okuma
9 Chevy Chase Elliott Hendrick Motorsports Alan Gustafson NAPA Auto Parts, Hooters, LLumar
10 Ford Aric Almirola Stewart-Haas Racing Mike Bugarewics  Smithfield
11 Toyota Denny Hamlin Joe Gibbs Racing Chris Gabehart FedEx
12 Ford Ryan Blaney  Team Penske Todd Gordon -
14 Ford Chase Briscoe - R Stewart-Haas Racing - HighPoint
15 Chevy - Rick Ware Racing  Pat Tryson -
17 Ford Chris Buescher Roush Fenway Racing Luke Lambert Castrol
18 Toyota Kyle Busch Joe Gibbs Racing Ben Beshore M&Ms, Skittles, Pedigree, Interstate Batteries
19 Toyota Martin Truex Jr. Joe Gibbs Racing James Small Auto Owners Ins.
20 Toyota Christopher Bell  Joe Gibbs Racing Adam Stevens Rheem, Craftsman
21 Ford Matt DiBenedetto Wood Brothers Racing Greg Erwin Motorcraft/Quick Lane
22 Ford Joey Logano Team Penske Paul Wolfe Shell-Pennzoil, AAA, Autotrader, MoneyLion 
23 Toyota Bubba Wallace 23XI Racing Mike Wheeler DoorDash, McDonald’s, Columbia Sportswear, Dr Pepper, Root Insurance
24 Chevy William Byron Hendrick Motorsports Rudy Fugle Axalta, Liberty University 
34 Ford Michael McDowell Front Row Motorsports Drew Blickensderfer -
37 Chevy Ryan Preece JTG Daugherty Racing Trent Owens Kroger, Bush's Beans
38 Ford - Front Row Motorsports Seth Barbour -
41 Ford Cole Custer  Stewart-Haas Racing Mike Shiplett -
42 Chevy Ross Chastain Chip Ganassi Racing - McDonald's
43 Chevy Erik Jones Richard Petty Motorsports Jerry Baxter Victory Junction
47 Chevy Ricky Stenhouse Jr. JTG Daugherty Racing Brian Pattie Kroger, NOS Energy Drink
48 Chevy Alex Bowman Hendrick Motorsports Greg Ives Ally Financial
51 Chevy - Rick Ware Racing Jason Houghtaling Biohaven Pharmaceuticals’ Nurtec
52 Chevy - Rick Ware Racing Mike Hillman Sr. -
53 Chevy - Rick Ware Racing Todd Parrott -
66 Ford Timmy Hill MBM Motorsports Steven Idol -
77 Chevy - Spire Motorsports Kevin Bellicourt -
78 Ford BJ McLeod Live Fast Motorsports - Keen Parts
96 Toyota - Gaunt Brothers Racing - -
99 Chevy Daniel Suarez Trackhouse Racing Travis Mack -
  R - Rookie of The Year contender      
Anthony Ballantoni
Anthony Ballantoni is a Senior Sports Writer at Rotoworld.com.