Wood Brothers to get Charter for 2017, DiBenedetto gets a ride

The Wood Brothers Racing team competed in the NASCAR Sprint Cup series fulltime in 2016.
The Wood Brothers Racing team competed in the NASCAR Sprint Cup series fulltime in 2016.
The Wood Brothers Racing team competed in the NASCAR Sprint Cup series fulltime in 2016.

The Wood Brothers Racing team will have a guaranteed starting spot for every race in NASCAR’s top touring series in 2017.

After being shut out of NASCAR’s Charter system for 2016, the team announced Thursday that they have leased a Charter from GoFas Racing.  When NASCAR announced its Charter system in early 2016, the famed Wood Brothers, NASCAR’s oldest team, had not been running full time in the series making them ineligible.  The team had already announced they would be racing fulltime in 2016 with rookie drive Ryan Blaney.

The team was able to qualify for every race in 2016 with Blaney scoring 3 top five and 9 top-10 finishes. With Thursday’s announcement however the team now has a guaranteed starting spot for every race for 2017.

The Charter is being leased from GoFas Racing, which announced simultaneously that Matt DiBenedetto will be that team’s primary driver for 2017. GoFas has used a combination of drivers in 2016. The team, owned by Archie St. Hillaire, has bought six cars from Richard Petty Motorsports and RPM’s Charter for the No. 44 raced by Brian Scott. Scott announced his retirement at the end of 2016, and RPM is expected to race only a single car next season, that being the No. 43 driven by Aric Almirola.

“I am very excited to join Go Fas Racing for the 2017 season,” said DiBenedetto, who comes to GoFas after leaving BK Racing. In two years of NASCAR Cup series competition, he has 68 starts and a season-best finish of sixth at Bristol Motor Speedway in 2016. “We have a great group of people that I am very excited to work with this season. I am thankful for the opportunity and I look forward to representing the team and sponsors to the best of my ability.”

“This will be our first season in the premier series with one driver running the complete season for us,” said St. Hillaire. “We believe Matt’s driving ability and a fleet of newer race equipment purchased this off-season will elevate our program to new levels in 2017.”

There is a potential for some of Scott’s former RPM sponsors to transfer to GoFas next season.

“We’re also talking with RPM about maintaining some of the No. 44 sponsors on our car,” said St. Hillaire in an exclusive Sirius XM NASCAR Radio interview. “Three-quarters of our sponsorships are already sold; more than we’ve ever had.”

About Greg Engle 7421 Articles
Greg is a published award winning sportswriter who spent 23 years combined active and active reserve military service, much of that in and around the Special Operations community. Greg is the author of "The Nuts and Bolts of NASCAR: The Definitive Viewers' Guide to Big-Time Stock Car Auto Racing" and has been published in major publications across the country including the Los Angeles Times, the Cleveland Plain Dealer and the Atlanta Journal-Constitution. He was also a contributor to Chicken Soup for the NASCAR Soul, published in 2010, and the Christmas edition in 2016. He wrote as the NASCAR, Formula 1, Auto Reviews and National Veterans Affairs Examiner for Examiner.com and has appeared on Fox News. He holds a BS degree in communications, a Masters degree in psychology and is currently a PhD candidate majoring in psychology. He is currently the weekend Motorsports Editor for Autoweek.