Matt DiBenedetto finishes runner-up in Las Vegas

Rachel Schuoler / Kickin' The Tires

By Matt Courson, Staff Writer

Matt DiBenedetto finished second in the Pennzoil 400 Sunday at Las Vegas Motor Speedway, tying his best career finish in the NASCAR Cup Series.

“It’s too dang surreal to be driving this [car] in the first place, DiBenedetto told Kickin’ The Tires after the race. “The legendary Motorcraft Quick Lane No. 21, it’s so cool to have the support of them and Menard’s, and Ford, and this whole team. It took so many people, it’s so cool to be driving for the Wood Brothers.”

The finish comes in just his second start with the team.

“We’re close, second race of the season and already starting off with a second place finish. We were close and made a real aggressive move.”

When the caution flag flew with six laps remaining, DiBenedetto stayed out on the racetrack while many of his competitors around him elected to hit pit road for fresh tires.

“This was an encouraging second-place finish, that’s for sure,” said DiBenedetto of tying his best career finish which happened in the night race at Bristol last year.

The runner-up effort also marks DiBenedetto’s best career finish on a 1.5-mile racetrack. 

DiBenedetto admitted that when the green flag dropped, he was concerned with as to how his day would end up going.

#21: Matt DiBenedetto, Wood Brothers Racing, Ford Mustang Motorcraft/Quick Lane. Photo by Nigel Kinrade Photography / NKP

“At the start of the day, I was a little worried, but knew we had the capability” said the Wood Brothers Racing driver. “We were just really loose until we had the pit stops to adjust. It just took a lot of work from the team.”

The California-native restarted 10th with 41 laps remaining, but ultimately utilized pit strategy to quickly advance through the top 10 in the waning laps. 

If DiBenedetto were to reach Victory Lane in t2020, it would mark the organization’s 100th NASCAR Cup Series victory.

The series next heads to Auto Club Speedway in Southern California, where DiBenedetto looks to improve on his best finish of 18th.

Leave a Reply

Your email address will not be published. Required fields are marked *