The 2022 driver lineup became clearer on Thursday as Team Penske and Wood Brothers Racing both made major driver lineup announcements.
As rumored earlier in the year, Brad Keselowski will depart from Penske at the end of the year to “pursue other opportunities in the sport”, opening the door of the No. 2. Austin Cindric will assume the driver role for the number Roger Penske made famous instead of the previous plans that had him moving into the Wood Brothers No. 21.
When the rumor began circulating, it raised the possibility that Matt DiBenedetto would be able retain his ride. Concurrent with the Team Penske announcement, however, the Wood Brothers announced that Harrison Burton will be their driver in 2022.
“Austin is a champion and has proven his abilities both on and off the track.” team owner Roger Penske said in a statement. “The Cup Series is a big step for any rookie but making this move now, in conjunction with the introduction of the new Next Gen car, makes sense. He has gained valuable experience this year competing in a handful of races at the Cup level and he has shown that he belongs out there.”
The reigning Xfinity champion, Cindric has made six starts this year with a best finish of 15th in the Daytona 500. The remainder of his efforts have landed outside the top 20.
Burton has one start at Talladega Superspeedway driving for the Gaunt Brothers. He finished 20th.
DiBenedetto has five top-10s in the first 21 races of the season. Two of these have come in the last two races with a 10th at Roaad America and a ninth at Atlanta Motor Speedway.