Despite struggling to find the speed he hoped to have at Darlington Raceway, Matt DiBenedetto came away from two races in four days with two solid finishes, including his second top-10 finish of the season, a ninth-place effort in Wednesday night’s 500-kilometer race at the Lady in Black.
DiBenedetto and his No. 21 Motorcraft/Quick Lane Mustang fired off fast in Wednesday’s race, the start of which was delayed by rain throughout the day.
He started seventh after the qualifying order was set through an inversion of the finishing order of Sunday’s Darlington race in which he finished 14th.
He had driven up to fifth place, but made an early pit stop because he and the team were worried that there might be an issue with his car.
The decision to pit cost DiBenedetto and the team track position and caused them to use up one of the eight sets of tires each team was allotted for the race.
DiBenedetto restarted 27th and passed 15 cars in just 10 laps.
“It was fun to fly through the field like that,” he said. “I was surprised how many cars I could just fly by.”
But as the track took on more rubber, the results weren’t as good.
“We were a lot better on the green track,” he said. “When the track rubbered up, we just weren’t where we needed to be.”
Still he was able to finish 10th in the second 60-lap stage, earning one stage point.
As the laps wound down, DiBenedetto and his team, led by crew chief Greg Erwin and spotter Doug Campbell, used strategy to move into the top 10 when it counted.
Sensing rains would arrive before the race reached the advertised distance, the decision was made to leave DiBenedetto on the track when the caution flag flew with 32 laps remaining.
DiBenedetto moved up to second for the restart and was hanging on to ninth place when the race was called for rain 20 laps shy of the planned 228 laps.
“We gambled at the end and got lucky, but we’ll take it,” he said of his second top-10 finish of the season, the first a runner-up run at Las Vegas Motor Speedway in the second race of the season. “All of the tracks except for Darlington we have had really good speed, so I know we will take a little luck from this one and moving forward we should be fast at a lot of places and be better at Charlotte.”
DiBenedetto and the team remain in ninth place in the Cup standings heading into this weekend’s Coca-Cola 600 at Charlotte Motor Speedway.
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About Quick Lane Tire & Auto Center
Quick Lane Tire & Auto Center offers extraordinary service for routine vehicle maintenance including tire repair and replacement with a Low Tire Price Guarantee and a full menu of automotive services including oil and filter, brakes, alignments, batteries, and shocks and struts on all vehicle makes and models. Service is performed by certified technicians at more than 1,000 locations worldwide while you wait, and no appointment is necessary. For more information about Quick Lane, please visit www.quicklane.com.
About Ford Motor Company
Ford Motor Company is a global company based in Dearborn, Michigan. The company designs, manufactures, markets and services a full line of Ford cars, trucks, SUVs, electrified vehicles and Lincoln luxury vehicles, provides financial services through Ford Motor Credit Company and is pursuing leadership positions in electrification, autonomous vehicles and mobility solutions. Ford employs approximately 200,000 people worldwide. For more information regarding Ford, its products and Ford Motor Credit Company, please visit www.corporate.ford.com.
Wood Brothers Racing
Wood Brothers Racing was formed in 1950 in Stuart, Va., by Hall of Famer Glen Wood. Wood Brothers Racing is the oldest active team and one of the winningest teams in NASCAR history. Since its founding, the team won 99 races (including at least one race in every decade for the last seven decades) and 120 poles in NASCAR’s top-tier series. Fielding only Ford products for its entire history, the Wood Brothers own the longest association of any motorsports team with a single manufacturer. Glen’s brother, Leonard, is known for inventing the modern pit stop. The team currently runs the Ford Mustang driven by Matt DiBenedetto in the famous No. 21 racer.