Box Score Info:
RACE: NASCAR Monster Energy NASCAR Cup Series; 1000Bulbs.com 500
TRACK: Talladega Superspeedway
DRIVER: Matt DiBenedetto
CAR: No. 95 One Bite Toyota Camry
- Rain showers on Sunday afternoon forced officials to postpone this weekend’s race at Talladega Speedway to Monday afternoon after the race had only completed the opening stage on Sunday. The superspeedway is already synonymous with cars constantly jockeying for position as the various lanes gain and lose momentum as competitors get shuffled throughout the field. Matt DiBenedetto and his No. 95 Barstool Sports One Bite team focused on Race trim during the weekend’s two practice sessions on Friday and left their car in race trim for Saturday’s qualifying since it was an impound session. DiBenedetto started from 31st with his No. 95 Toyota, and while he was able to avoid several wrecks throughout the race, he was ultimately caught up in one that occurred on lap 182 with just under six laps remaining in the event as he was running solidly in the top ten at the time. The damage ended the team’s day immediately and relegated DiBenedetto to a 30th-place finish despite showing speed throughout both days of the race.
- The 1000Bulbs.com 500 at Talladega Superspeedway took the green flag on Sunday afternoon at 1:03 p.m. CST with DiBenedetto lined up in 31st with his No. 95 Barstool Sports One Bite Toyota Camry. After starting the race from 31st, DiBenedetto drove up to fourth within the opening eight laps before getting shuffled back into 23rd a few laps later. In true superspeedway style, with the field constantly working to find drafting help around the high-speed and high-banked track, drivers constantly shuffled forwards and backwards throughout the lineup depending on who was willing to work together during the race. On lap 20, the team’s spotter told DiBenedetto over team radio "you have no friends out there right now."
- Despite the challenge for DiBenedetto finding momentum in certain lines around various competitors, he continued to shuffle into the top 10, but also back into the mid-20’s depending upon his positioning in the lanes. The first round of green-flag stops began to cycle at lap 34 and crew chief of the No. 95 Camry, Mike Wheeler, called his driver in for a fuel-only stop on lap 35. The first caution of the race came on lap 37 as DiBenedetto told his team during the break in the action that his One Bite Toyota Camry was "handling fine, but the motor is just running cooler than normal." Under the yellow flag, Wheeler brought his driver down pit road for four tires and fuel on lap 38 and DiBenedetto lined up in 20th for the restart.
- Over the next run, DiBenedetto continued to be stuck in the pack without any help and he ended the opening stage of the race in 11th. As the flags came out to end the stage, rain started to fall at the track, and after a rain delay, officials were forced to postpone the remainder of the event until Monday afternoon.
- The race resumed on Monday at 1:02 p.m. CST with the red flag being lifted as cars were then allowed to come down pit road for service. DiBenedetto came in on lap 59 for four tires and fuel for his One Bite Toyota Camry and the race returned to green to start Stage 2 at lap 63. DiBenedetto started the stage in 16th, and once again, worked on finding help in the pack whenever he found momentum. Another round of green-flag stops began at lap 90 and Wheeler called for a splash of fuel on lap 91.
- DiBenedetto cracked into the top-10 on lap 96, but during lap 99, he radioed into the team that one of the car’s hood flaps was open. With the flap stuck, the handling in the No. 95 Camry immediately changed as DiBenedetto told his team "I’m trying, but it’s really slow now." The first "Big One" of the race happened during lap 107 and collected a total of 11 cars in Turn 3. DiBenedetto was able to avoid the melee and the team used the yellow flag to work on repairing the hood flap in order to correct the aerodynamics of their race car as Stage 2 ended under the caution.
- After several visits down pit road for repairs as well as for fuel and tires, DiBenedetto began Stage 3 in 24th as the race returned green on lap 117. By lap 120, the One Bite Toyota Camry was in 10th and by lap 126, DiBenedetto was up to sixth at the time before getting shuffled back into 19th the next time by. He was able to quickly get back into the top-10 on lap 129 before a caution for debris at lap 133. Under the yellow, Wheeler called his driver in for left-side tires and fuel on lap 134 and the No. 95 restarted in ninth. DiBenedetto got as high as sixth over the next run until a caution for the No. 14 came at lap 153 with 35 laps remaining in the event. This time the One Bite Toyota got right-side tires as the team also packed their No. 95 machine full of fuel in order to make it to the end.
- DiBenedetto restarted in ninth to begin lap 158, and by lap 170 he had driven into fifth. Following a caution for the No. 41, DiBenedetto lined up in fourth to return to green on lap 176 as he remained within the top four for several laps until getting caught in a chain reaction of contact between the race leaders on lap 182 on the backstretch. A total of 11 cars were damaged in the incident, and the contact ended the No. 95 team’s day after their One Bite Toyota was demolished.
- Ryan Blaney went on to earn the victory on Monday at Talladega as he inched out Ryan Newman to the finish line. Denny Hamlin, Aric Almirola, and Michael McDowell rounded out the top-five finishers at Talladega, while DiBenedetto was scored with a 30th-place finish despite such a promising run throughout both days of competition.
2019 No. 95 Season Summary:
Starts - 31
Wins - 0
Top 5's - 3
Top 10's - 7
Poles - 0
Hollywood Casino 400
Kansas Speedway (1.5-mile)
Kansas City, KS
Sunday, October 20, 2019