This past year, the Door Bumper Clear podcast hosted by Brett Griffin, T.J. Majors, and Freddie Kraft has been a good source for the rumor mill. They have a good hand on the pulse of the silly season, and this past podcast is only furthering that fact. Never shy about teasing some major news, Freddie Kraft dropped one major hint about who will be driving the #21 next year, as well as some potential Kurt Busch news.
Near the end of this week’s podcast, when matt DiBenedetto’s name was brought up, Kraft used this opportunity to spill the tea he had on that upcoming situation. He essentially tells listeners that Matt DiBenedetto will be out of that car after this season and that the new driver was a guest on their show this earlier season.
Well, that narrows it down to four names: Harrison Burton, Jeb Burton, Ty Gibbs, and Doug Coby. I think it’s safe to say it isn’t Doug Coby and that Ty Gibbs isn’t leaving Joe Gibbs Racing. So, it comes down to the Burton boys.
Right off the bat, you would think Harrison is next in line for a Cup ride, but he’s still currently in the Toyota development camp. Both Burton’s have scored 5 top fives and 11 top tens so far this season, but Jeb has the lone Burton win this season from Talladega. Both of these guys are performing near equal, the key difference being one is 28-years old and the other is only 20.
Who do I think it is? My money is on Harrison, and the reason being that he brings sponsorship and will help bolster Ford’s development ranks. Jeb is who I hope gets it, because I do not think Harrison is ready to make the jump to Cup and could hurt his development.
The biggest reason I’m so sure it will be Harrison is because of another comment Kraft made in regards to Kurt Busch. He said Busch is expected to make his decision on 2022 team soon. Kraft being employed by 23XI Racing probably has heard the whispers from the conference rooms on how his team’s seduction of Kurt Busch away from Trackhouse has gone. My theory is that Harrison Burton and his team are ready to make the jump to Cup sooner rather than later, and the Toyota pipeline is too full, especially when you put a veteran Kurt Busch in one of the only up seats available.
Where does this leave Matt DiBenedetto? Well, if Austin Cindric isn’t getting into that car, it probably means he’s going straight to Penske and if that’s the case, it leaves DiBenedetto jobless. Unfortunately, not making playoffs in Penske equipment doesn’t give you much room to fight when you’re going against a young up-and-coming driver with sponsorship brought to the table.
There’s the potential for GMS Racing or possibly Richard Petty Motorsports if Erik Jones gets a new ride in 2022, but those are the only realistic opportunities for him. Many Matty D fans will be screaming for a shot to take over at Stewart-Haas Racing for Aric Almirola, but at this point, I’m not sure how much of an upgrade he would be for SHR.
While I hope he remains in Cup, it wouldn’t be the worst thing in the world for him to step down into a competitive Xfinity or Truck ride. With his talent and experience in Cup, I think he could take a step down and have a long career competing for wins and championships in the lower series’.