Story By: JORDAN WOOD / WOOD BROTHERS RACING – STUART, VA – Harrison Burton, a second-generation driver and four-time NASCAR Xfinity Series race winner, will pilot the famed No. 21 Ford Mustang for Wood Brothers Racing beginning in 2022, the team announced today.
Burton will become the latest driver in a long list of legendary names that have piloted the No. 21 Ford for the Woods when he takes over the seat beginning at the 2022 Daytona 500 at Daytona International Speedway.
Austin Cindric, who had previously been announced as the driver for the No. 21 Wood Brothers Ford Mustang in 2022, will now move over to Team Penske to drive the team’s No. 2 Mustang, opening the door for Burton to make a jump to the NASCAR Cup Series full-time.
Burton, the son of former NASCAR Cup Series driver and current NBC race analyst Jeff Burton, has been a mainstay in NASCAR’s lower divisions since arriving on the scene in the Truck Series at just 18 years of age in 2019. In 2020, Burton won four races in the NASCAR Xfinity Series (Fontana, Homestead, Texas and Martinsville) en route to a seventh-place finish in the final point standings and series Rookie of the Year honors.
This season, the 20-year-old Burton has five top-fives and 11 top-10 finishes in 18 races and sits fifth in the Xfinity Series point standings.
“Since I began racing quarter midgets, the hope and goal was always to become a full-time driver in the NASCAR Cup Series,” said Burton. “Now, I get to do this with one of the most storied teams in NASCAR history in the Wood Brothers and with an association with Ford Motor Company and Ford Performance. I don’t think I could have dreamt of a better situation to put myself in when it comes to the start of my NASCAR Cup Series career. Add to that the technical alliance with Team Penske and the knowledge I’ll gain from working with their drivers and I’m really excited for 2022 and the future. This is a great opportunity for me and I can’t thank Eddie and Len Wood enough for giving me this chance.”
Wood Brothers Racing is the oldest active NASCAR team and one of the winningest teams in series history. The team currently has 99 victories at NASCAR’s top level, with the likes of David Pearson, Cale Yarborough, Neil Bonnett, Dan Gurney, AJ Foyt and Buddy Baker all visiting Victory Lane with the team. The organization also currently enjoys a technical relationship with Team Penske, which will continue into 2022, along with major support from Ford Performance.
Sponsorship for the No. 21 will be announced at a later date, but will once again include support from Ford Quick Lane and Motorcraft.
“As a team owner, you always want to keep an eye for the future and what’s best for your organization in hopes to set yourself up for success long-term,” said team President and Co-Owner Eddie Wood. “As things have progressed and changed over the last few months, we had the chance to look at what our options are and when we determined that Harrison would be available for our team, we wanted to jump at the opportunity to work with him. Harrison is young, but comes from a family full of successful race car drivers. The advice and support they can offer to Harrison as he makes this transition will be very important to his success. What a lot of us forget is that he is not even 21 years old yet and has only been racing in both the Truck Series and Xfinity Series for a couple of years. So when we looked at the future and finding someone to build our program around, Harrison seemed like a great option.”
“We are quite excited to begin working with Harrison and 2022 is perfect timing,” said team Co-Owner Len Wood. “With the introduction of the new NextGen car next year, we have the ability to grow with him and build our program around what he wants. We don’t want to say it puts him on a level playing field, because there are a lot of great drivers in the Cup Series, but having a rookie come in at the same time a new car is introduced will help build us a solid foundation and hopefully get us off to a strong start.”
Additional details surrounding the 2022 season, including partners, will be announced at a later date.