LFR NEWS

DiBenedetto Finishes 21st After Early Pit Road Contact at Michigan
Jun 11, 2019

Box Score Info:
RACE:  NASCAR Monster Energy NASCAR Cup Series; FireKeepers Casino 400
TRACK:  Michigan International Speedway
DRIVER:  Matt DiBenedetto
CAR:  No. 95 Toyota Express Maintenance Toyota Camry
START: 29th
FINISH: 21st
LAPS:  203/203

Post-Race Highlights:

  • After rain showers in the area postponed Sunday's race at Michigan to Monday, Monster Energy NASCAR Cup Series teams ran the event in its entirety including extra laps of an Overtime finish at the two-mile track.  Matt DiBenedetto and his No. 95 Toyota Express Maintenance Camry started the race from 29th after the team spent their Friday practice sessions focusing on race trim since Saturday's qualifying was an impound session.  DiBenedetto was tagged early in the race with contact from the No. 48 on pit road, but the team repaired the damaged left-rear and were able to battle back from the setback to finish 21st.
  • Monday's FireKeepers Casino 400 took the green flag at 5:09 p.m. EST to begin Stage 1.  Prior to the start, NASCAR announced a competition caution around lap 20 due to the rain showers in the area overnight that had washed away the rubber on track.  During his opening run, DiBenedetto told crew chief Mike Wheeler that the No. 95 Camry was "tight in the center and off" as he tried to battle his way forward through the field for positions.  The competition caution came following lap 20 and Wheeler called his driver down pit road for four tires, fuel, and an air pressure adjustment.  As DiBenedetto was entering his stall though, the No. 48 tagged the No. 95 Camry in the left-rear after a team miscommunication on their end.  DiBenedetto's crew went to work on the stop taking extra time to work on the damage in order to not have a tire rub or any further damage.  The extended time on pit road checking over the Toyota Express Maintenance Camry found DiBenedetto line up in 35th for the restart.
  • Stage 1 continued with DiBenedetto continuing to fight tight-handling conditions in his race car, but he was able to improve to 27th before the stage came to an end following lap 60.  Under the caution that followed the end of the stage, Wheeler made the strategy call to pit for right-side tires and fuel, and the move put DiBenedetto in 12th as the race began Stage 2 on lap 68.  Following the restart, the No. 95 cracked into the top-10 on the restart lap, but a caution came just a few laps later due to the No. 51.  Under the yellow flag, DiBenedetto told his team that his Camry felt "tighter on two tires," so Wheeler opted to pit for left-side tires and fuel on lap 72.  The No. 95 Toyota Express Maintenance Camry lined up in 22nd for the restart to begin lap 76.
  • Over the remainder of Stage 2, DiBenedetto remained in the mid-20's and ended the stage scored in 21st.  The team discussed handling under the break and DiBenedetto reported that his No. 95 Camry was "edgy in traffic into (Turn) 1" so they opted for a four-tire stop on lap 123.  
  • Stage 3 took the green flag to begin lap 128 with DiBenedetto in 20th at the time.  The final stage of the race began with cautions for the No. 14 on lap 130 followed by a caution on lap 136 for the No. 3.  The restarts had the field battling three-wide entering Turn 1 and the running order got shuffled around every restart as cars looked for every advantage to gain positions.  DiBenedetto told the team on lap 150 that his Toyota Express Maintenance Camry was "a little tighter this run" and the leaders started to cycle through green-flag pit stops on lap 174.  DiBenedetto hit pit road on lap 176 for the team's green-flag stop for four tires and fuel as the field continued to cycle through stops.
  • A late-race caution at lap 196 due to the No. 20 meant that the race would go into Overtime.  DiBenedetto hit pit road for four tires and fuel on lap 198 and lined up in 20th for the restart and the first attempt at an Overtime finish.  Unsure of how many possible attempts at the checkered there might be, the race stayed green through the first attempt, and DiBenedetto crossed the line in 21st for the day.
  • Joey Logano drove away with the victory on Monday after leading a dominant 163 of 203 laps as he claimed his second series win of the season.  Kurt Busch, Martin Truex, Jr., Daniel Suarez, and Kyle Busch rounded out the top-five finishers while DiBenedetto's Toyota Express Maintenance Camry finished 21st.
     

2019 No. 95 Season Summary:
Starts - 14
Wins - 0
Top 5's - 0
Top 10's - 0
Poles - 0


NEXT UP:
Toyota / Save Mart 350
Sonoma Raceway (2.52-mile road course)
Sonoma, CA
Sunday, June 23, 2019