LFR NEWS

Darlington Preview – No. 95 IMSA GTO Throwback Toyota Camry Preview
Aug 27, 2019

No. 95 IMSA GTO Throwback Toyota Camry Notes:

DIBENEDETTO BY THE NUMBERS: In four Monster Energy NASCAR Cup Series career starts at Darlington, Matt DiBenedetto has an average start of 29.5, an average finish of 29.0, and he’s completed 1,347 of 1,468 (91.8 percent) career laps at the historic South Carolina track.

#TRD40 WHERE IT ALL BEGAN: Soon after TRD, U.S.A. (Toyota Racing Development) was established 40 years ago, Toyota began its undeniably successful journey in American motorsports.  It’s widely known that Toyota’s racing heritage began with Ivan “Ironman” Stewart in off-road racing. What you might not know is that beginning in 1983, Toyota joined forces with the legendary Dan Gurney and All-American Racers (AAR) to field Celicas in the IMSA GTU (under three-liter) category – winning 10 races in three years (1983-85).  In 1986, Toyota and AAR moved to the over three-liter category with turbo-charged GTO Celicas and would capture 15 race wins (1986-88), as well as the 1987 driver’s championship with Chris Cord and the manufacturer’s championship the same year.  This championship-winning IMSA GTO program carried the classic red, orange and yellow striped color scheme which is synonymous with Toyota performance reputation in American motorsports.  The design pre-dates the infamous AAR Toyota Mark Eagle III, as well as all of Toyota’s other racing endeavors – Open Wheel, Midget Cars, Formula Drift, NHRA and NASCAR – which have combined for more than 1,500 Toyota wins.

RACE INFO: The Bojangles’ Southern 500 at Darlington Raceway (1.366-mile) begins at 6:00 p.m. ET on Sunday, September 1st. The race will be broadcast live on NBCSN, Sirius XM Channel 90 and MRN Radio.

 

DiBenedetto’s Career Monster Energy NASCAR Cup Series Stats at Darlington:

Date Event Start Finish Laps Status

Date

9/6/2015

Event

Bojangles' Southern 500

Start

25

Finish

25

Laps

367 / 367

Status

Running

Date

9/4/2016

Event

Bojangles' Southern 500

Start

35

Finish

26

Laps

364 / 367

Status

Running

Date

9/3/2017

Event

Bojangles' Southern 500

Start

28

Finish

27

Laps

362 / 367

Status

Running

Date

9/2/2018

Event

Bojangles' Southern 500

Start

30

Finish

27

Laps

254 / 367

Status

Rear End

 

DiBenedetto’s Career Monster Energy NASCAR Cup Series Stats at Darlington:(Cummulative):

Races Wins Top 5 Top 10 Poles

Races

4

Wins

0

Top 5

0

Top 10

0

Poles

0

 

DiBenedetto’s 2019 Monster Energy NASCAR Cup Series Season Stats:

Starts Wins Top 5 Top 10 Poles Laps Led Avg. Start Avg. Finish

Starts

24

Wins

0

Top 5

3

Top 10

5

Poles

0

Laps Led

143

Avg. Start

20.8

Avg. Finish

19.7

 

DiBenedetto’s Career Monster Energy NASCAR Cup Series Stats:

Starts Wins Top 5 Top 10 Poles Laps Led Avg. Start Avg. Finish

Starts

164

Wins

0

Top 5

3

Top 10

9

Poles

0

Laps Led

166

Avg. Start

29.6

Avg. Finish

27.6

 

From the Driver's Seat:

Matt DiBenedetto: "Looking ahead to this weekend, I feel that it will be harder to pass compared to previous Darlington races because we're going to have less lap time fall-off.  We'll still have fall-off, which is good, and honestly better for us since this group has performed better at tracks that have had fall-off this year.  In Turns 3 and 4 we'll probably be out of the gas some so we're looking forward to that aspect of the racing this weekend.  Compared to previous Darlington races, we'll have less lap time fall-off and it's a narrow track so we're going to get aero-tight behind people.  This weekend will be a mix of tires and track position.  Turns 1 and 2 are so narrow that I don't think you'll see a lot of passing in that section since it's already limited on space there, but with the low downforce, we'd be out of the gas for so long that you didn't get as aero-tight and it would slow down so much.  Now we're going to have to run in Turns 3 and 4 either on the apron or wherever you have to run in order to find some clean air to have a passing opportunity.  I think that we'll see less ‘Darlington stripes' as well this weekend since cars won't be sliding around as much as they have there in the past.  Darlington has been one of my favorite tracks that I really enjoyed because of all the sliding around we did in the past especially since it's such a worn-out surface too.  Darlington was right up my alley to run up along the fence and having to pedal the throttle forever.  I think that we'll still be running along the wall this weekend, but it just won't be as much of putting the throttle down until the straightway like it used to be.  It'll just be a different type of Darlington race this weekend than we've had there, but there should still be some similarities."

From the Pit Box:

Mike Wheeler: "Darlington is kind of a mixed bag for the 550 spec tracks and tire fall-off.  At the end of the day, the banking in Turns 1 and 2 will make the cars be about wide-open through there by yourself, but obviously the tight radius and the flatter corner in (Turns) 3 and 4 will make it a more traditional corner to provide passing opportunities.  Ultimately, you'll have to get off Turn 4 well to be able to pass somebody because once you get through (Turns) 1 and 2, you'll be single file.  Tire fall-off will still matter.  You'll have moments similar to what we saw in Atlanta for example where tires will matter and pace fall-off will be something to watch.  You need to make sure that your set-up is good for the short and long runs at the same point.  I think the preferred line for this weekend will still be what you've seen in the past at Darlington along the wall, and you might maneuver around a little bit differently, but generally the high line will be the fast line.  Depending on how slick the track gets, last year the line did move down a bit in (Turns) 3 and 4.  With this new package and tire combination that could happen again this weekend, but I think that the track will look very similar to how it has in the past.  The throwback weekend is always a neat deal because it reminds you of the early days and paint schemes of this sport that so many of us grew up watching."

 

No. 95 Toyota Express Maintenance Camry Team:

Driver: Matt DiBenedetto                   
Crew Chief: Mike Wheeler
Car Chief: Greg Emmer                     
Spotter: Doug Campbell
Engineer: J.R. Houston                    
Engineer: Etienne Cliche
Mechanic: Bill Mares                         
Mechanic: Matt Kimball
Shock Specialist: Sean Studer         
Mechanic: Zach Marquardt
Tire Specialist: Tony Ramirez          
Jackman: Charles Thacker
Fueler: Brian Eastland                       
Rear Changer: Deven Youker
Front Changer: Adam Hartman        
Tire Carrier: Chris Hall
Hauler Driver: Damon Lopez
 
 
About Toyota:

Toyota (NYSE:TM), creator of the Prius hybrid and the Mirai fuel cell vehicle, is committed to building vehicles for the way people live through our Toyota and Lexus brands. Over the past 60 years, we've built more than 38 million cars and trucks in North America, where we operate 14 manufacturing plants (10 in the U.S.) and directly employ more than 47,000 people (more than 37,000 in the U.S.).  Our 1,800 North American dealerships (nearly 1,500 in the U.S.) sold nearly 2.8 million cars and trucks (2.4 million in the U.S.) in 2018 – and about 87 percent of all Toyota vehicles sold over the past 16 years are still on the road today.