LFR NEWS

DiBenedetto Fights Power Steering Challenges to Finish 26th at Texas
Mar 31, 2019

Box Score Info:

RACE:  NASCAR Monster Energy NASCAR Cup Series; O'Reilly Auto Parts 500
TRACK:  Texas Motor Speedway
DRIVER:  Matt DiBenedetto
CAR:  No. 95 Procore Toyota Camry
START: 26th
FINISH: 26th
LAPS:  331/334
POINTS POSITION:  104 total points for the season; currently 24th in the driver point standings

Post-Race Highlights:

  • This weekend, NASCAR traveled to "The Lone Star State" as all three of the sport's top series competed at Texas Motor Speedway.  For Monster Energy NASCAR Cup Series teams, it was another weekend of uncertainty as they looked ahead to how the 2019 rules package would perform at the 1.5-mile track.  For Matt DiBenedetto and his No. 95 Procore team, it had the added importance of being considered a "home track" for the organization since team owners, Bob and Sharon Leavine reside in Texas.  The No. 95 started Sunday's race from 26th and ended up finishing in the same position it started in despite breaking into the top-20 during the 334-lap event.  Loose-handling conditions challenged DiBenedetto early in the race, but then power steering challenges that started around lap 250 found DiBenedetto fighting to wheel his Procore Camry for the remainder of the race. 
  • Sunday's O'Reilly Auto Parts 500 took the green flag at 2:18 p.m. CST to start the 334-lap event with DiBenedetto starting from 26th.  On the opening lap of the race, DiBenedetto drove his Procore Camry from 26th up to 21st before improving to 20th the next time by.  The first caution of the day came on lap 15 and it allowed DiBenedetto to tell his crew chief Mike Wheeler that the No. 95 machine was loose on the opening run.  Under the caution, Wheeler called for right-side tires and fuel, and DiBenedetto restarted in 24th to begin lap 19.  Loose-handling continued over the next run as DiBenedetto told his team on lap 58 that the Procore Camry was "just too on edge to be able to do anything."
  • Green-flag stops began to cycle on lap 60 as Wheeler asked his driver to save fuel since the team wanted to try and stretch their fuel run until the end of Stage 1.  With just a handful of laps until the end of the stage, DiBenedetto told his team that his Procore Camry was out of fuel on lap 82, and the team was forced to hit pit road.  Unfortunately, DiBenedetto came down pit road right after it closed due to the approaching end of Stage 1, and the team was hit with a penalty which also meant that they couldn't do the wavearound under the caution to get back on the lead lap.
  • Stage 2 took the green to begin lap 93 with DiBenedetto scored in 28th at the time and down a lap to the race leaders.  Looseness continued over the run as he told his team on lap 125 that his Procore Camry was "really out of the track."  A caution on lap 148 allowed Wheeler to bring his driver in for four tires, fuel, and a chassis adjustment under yellow.  Stage 2 ended following lap 170 and the Procore Camry ended the stage in 23rd as the team serviced their race car with right-side tires and fuel on lap 174. 
  • Stage 3 took the green flag to start lap 178 with DiBenedetto lined up in 20th.  By lap 211, The Procore Camry had dipped back into 25th as teams once again began to cycle through green-flag pit stops starting around lap 215.  As the No. 95 team prepared for their approaching green-flag stop, DiBenedetto told his team that the Procore Camry was tight in traffic and was "limited to running the bottom lane and I can't move up because it's plowing tight." 
  • Following a four-tire stop on lap 239, DiBenedetto radioed in that he was feeling a vibration in the Procore Camry, but then on lap 251, told his team that it felt as though the No. 95 machine was having some power steering issues.  DiBenedetto fought hard to drive his car as he slipped back into 25th on lap 262. 
  • Teams had to pit once more before the end of the race in order to make it to the end, and although the Procore Camry drove up to 24th on lap 306, a quick stop for fuel on lap 320 found DiBenedetto eventually crossing the line in 26th at the end of the race.  
  • Denny Hamlin earned the win Sunday as he Texas two-stepped his way to his second victory of the 2019 season.  Clint Bowyer, Daniel Suarez, Erik Jones, and Jimmie Johnson rounded out the top-five finishers at Texas while DiBenedetto finished 26th with his Procore Camry.


2019 No. 95 Season Summary:

Starts - 7
Wins - 0
Top 5's - 0
Top 10's - 0
Poles - 0


NEXT UP:

Food City 500
Bristol Motor Speedway (0.533-mile)
Bristol, TN
Sunday, April 7, 2019