Matt DiBenedetto, Go Fas Racing score top 10 amid Brickyard chaos

Russell LaBounty/NKP

By Aaron Bearden, Motorsports Editor

INDIANAPOLIS — Matt DiBenedetto and Go Fas Racing (GFR) are getting good at surviving attrition-filled races.

DiBenedetto maneuvered his way through a crash-filled Brickyard 400 to emerge from the bedlam with an eighth-place run. The result was his second top 10 of the year, joining a ninth-place effort in the equally chaotic Daytona 500. It also served as the first for GFR on a non-restrictor plate track.

“That’s quite the accomplishment,” DiBenedetto said. “This year we had a top 10 in the Daytona 500, now an eighth-place run and another top 10 in the Brickyard 400. Gosh, this is a crazy year for us. It’s awesome.

“From where this team was last year to this year is unbelievable, and it’s not all me. By all means, it’s these guys, man. We have great people, great crew chief, a great team all around. That’s what you can do with a little team and great people surrounding you. We have 15 employees and we have a top ten in both of those big races and have been competitive all year. That’s cool.”

While he did survive the chaos unfolding around him, DiBenedetto didn’t completely avoid it. The Grass Valley, California native left the day with a damaged No. 32 Ford, one he said took a tremendous effort to bring home in one piece.

“I made the greatest save of my life in (Turn) 3,” DiBenedetto said. “Got clobbered, I don’t even know by who, and saved it there. There were so many close calls, and we got damage on the right-front. It was a little bit of a survival race, but at the same time we had a good car. We were competitive all day. We got a little damage. Had to go to the back, but it worked out for us.”

Sunday’s run continued a year-long trend for DiBenedetto and GFR – exceeding expectations. When the 26-year-old announced he was moving from BK Racing (BKR) to GFR over the offseason, there were some that doubted the move, worried that GFR’s struggles in 2016 would continue on during DiBenedetto’s tenure.

Instead DiBenedetto has enjoyed his best year statistically by a noticeable margin, with marked improvements in average start (27.7 vs 30.4 in 2016), average finish (25.4 vs. 30.0) and two tops 10s compared to his lone top 10 in two years with BKR.

DiBenedetto believes his performance justifies his move, one he knew was the correct call long before his machine hit the track in Daytona.

“I was confident with my move over here because I knew we were bringing some good people over here, and I felt like it was putting ourselves in a position to just over-achieve all year,” DiBenedetto said. “We’ve had great support from fans. It’s amazing the fanbase we’ve built over here. I just can’t thanks the fans enough and everybody. It’s been a crazy year.”

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