It has been a magical 10-race stretch for Matt DiBenedetto.
Despite the stress of not knowing what the future holds — DiBenedetto is currently without a ride for 2020 — the 28-year old driver continues to keep his head down and is finding ways to rack up great finishes for Leavine Family Racing down the stretch.
The Bojangles Southern 500 weekend got off to a rough start for DiBenedetto and his No. 95 team as they failed pre-qualifying inspection twice. As a result, their car chief Greg Emmer was sent packing for the weekend. Luckily, the team passed on their third attempt, so they were able to attempt a qualifying run.
DiBendetto would start 19th on Sunday after a more than three hour rain delay. In the opening Stage of the race, DiBenedetto suffered from a ill-handling car in traffic. Crew Chief Mike Wheeler kept making adjustments and DiBenedetto was able to move up to 15th by the end of Stage 1.
The green race track, which had been washed off with rain, began taking a massive amount of rubber in Stage 2. This led to the track tightening up. Wheeler would continue to try to get the No. 95 throwback Toyota IMSA GTO car where DiBenedetto could make some moves.
DiBenedetto would end Stage 2 in 14th.
In the final Stage, a multi-car crash on lap 275 that involved numerous top contenders helped move DiBenedetto inside the top-10. He would restart in seventh, and with clean air finally, he would find himself a bit loose, where he had been tight all night long.
DiBenedetto would keep after it for the rest of the race and when it was all said and done, while Erik Jones was busy burning the tires off his race-winning No. 20 car, DiBenedetto came home an impressive eighth.
This is the sixth top-10 finish for DiBenedetto and the No. 95 team over their last 10 starts. In that span, DiBenedetto has an average finish of 11.3.
The driver affectionately known as Guido is giving it his all as he’s in the midst of a fight for his NASCAR driving life.
Toby is the Founder, Editor and go-to man for TobyChristie.com. He is also the co-host of The Final Lap Weekly Podcast. Additionally, Toby is a NMPA (National Motorsports Press Association) award winning writer, and has followed NASCAR as a fan since 1993.