Box Score Info:
RACE: NASCAR Monster Energy NASCAR Cup Series; Coke Zero Sugar 400
TRACK: Daytona International Speedway
DRIVER: Matt DiBenedetto
CAR: No. 95 Procore Toyota Camry
- Inclement weather challenged Monster Energy NASCAR Cup Series teams all weekend long as the series celebrated the Fourth of July holiday at Daytona International Speedway. Storms in the area shortened practice time, forced qualifying to be cancelled, delayed the race from Saturday evening until Sunday afternoon, and even ended the event prior to its scheduled lap length. Matt DiBenedetto and his No. 95 Procore team entered the weekend at the historic superspeedway as the lap leaders for the season's two speedway races, and they were eager to add to those strong runs. With qualifying being cancelled, the starting lineup was set by the rule book which meant DiBenedetto rolled off from 25th, and despite some tight-handling conditions, he was able to avoid "The Big One" late in the race and went on to be scored with an eighth-place finish when the race was officially called after 127 laps.
- Lightning and rain showers in the area on Saturday evening postponed the Coke Zero Sugar 400 at Daytona until Sunday as teams finally took the green flag at 1:04 p.m. EST. With more rain showers forecasted for the afternoon, teams were eagerly focused on radar maps as the opening 50 laps of Stage 1 began.
- During his opening 10-lap run, DiBenedetto drove his Procore Camry up to 20th as he radioed into crew chief Mike Wheeler that his race car was tight to start. By lap 14, the Procore Camry dipped back into 24th as DiBenedetto told his team that he was having to drop back since his No. 95 was so tight at the time. Green-flag pit stops began to cycle with several of the leaders hitting pit road on lap 36, and Wheeler called his driver in for service on lap 37 for a fuel-only stop along with a wedge adjustment.
- Stage 1 came to an end following lap 50 and DiBenedetto ended the stage in 27th with his Procore Camry. Under the yellow flag, DiBenedetto told his team that he didn't feel any change from the wedge adjustment and said his Camry "felt numb" at the time. Wheeler told his driver that there was a bit of nose damage and that the team would look things over on their pit stop. DiBenedetto hit pit road on lap 52 for a four-tire stop and lined up in 22nd to begin Stage 2 as the race went back to green to start lap 56.
- A quick caution came after the restart due to the No. 17 car and it allowed Wheeler to bring his driver in for service under yellow as the team made another four-tire stop, but this time with wedge and air pressure adjustments. The Procore Camry restarted in 23rd but was running 26th when the next caution came due to the No. 1 car on lap 76. Tight-handling continued to challenge the team, so Wheeler made the call to add packer on the team's four-tire stop under the caution. The race returned to green to begin lap 79 with the Procore Camry lined up in 31st, but in just two laps, DiBenedetto improved to 23rd before another caution came out at lap 83.
- DiBenedetto restarted in 16th to begin lap 87, and once again, improved his positioning from the restart, this time up to 13th by lap 90. With Stage 2 winding down, DiBenedetto told his team that the No. 95 "turns better but is a little free when someone gets around to my left-rear." Stage 2 ended after lap 100 with the Procore Camry scored in 17th. Under the caution, Wheeler called his driver in for another four-tire stop with adjustments and the race returned to green to begin the final Stage on lap 106.
- Following the restart, DiBenedetto worked diligently to get the outside lane working at the time, but "The Big One" happened on lap 119 as the No. 3 car appeared to set-off a chain reaction through the field. DiBenedetto survived the melee with his Procore Camry as he was able to avoid damage that collected 17 cars in the process. Under the caution, Wheeler opted for another four-tire stop, as the team also checked over their Camry to make sure that no damage had been done. Unfortunately, storms in the area brought out several lightning holds as the race went under red-flag conditions numerous times before NASCAR was forced to declare the race official due to inclement weather.
- Justin Haley was declared the race winner and the win was Haley's first career win in the Monster Energy NASCAR Cup Series in only his third career start in the series. William Byron, Jimmie Johnson, Ty Dillon, and Ryan Newman rounded out the top-five finishers at Daytona on Sunday, while DiBenedetto was scored in eighth as he earned his second top-10 finish of the season.
2019 No. 95 Season Summary:
Starts - 18
Wins - 0
Top 5's - 1
Top 10's - 2
Poles - 0
Quaker State 400
Kentucky Speedway (1.5-mile)
Saturday, July 13, 2019