Box Score Info:
RACE: NASCAR Monster Energy NASCAR Cup Series; GEICO 500
TRACK: Talladega Superspeedway
DRIVER: Matt DiBenedetto
CAR: No. 95 Procore Toyota Camry
POINTS POSITION: 149 total points for the season; currently 25th in the driver point standings
- NASCAR's top series traveled to Talladega Superspeedway this weekend for the first speedway race of the year featuring the new 2019 rules package, and teams had no idea what to expect. At a place where incidents can happen in the blink of an eye, teams entered the weekend unsure of how their race cars would perform with more horsepower, but also more downforce on the cars. Teams had two practice sessions on Friday to try and gain as much info as they could before Sunday's race. Matt DiBenedetto and his No. 95 Procore Camry started from 26th, but the team worked their way into the top-10 several times during the 188-lap event. Unfortunately, with seven laps remaining in the race, DiBenedetto got taken out of Sunday's race after getting collected by the No. 37 due to a chain reaction of contact. Despite such promise, the Procore team's day ended early and they were scored with a 31st-place finish.
- Sunday's GEICO 500 took the green flag at 1:20pm CST as the Procore Camry rolled off in 26th. The field quickly jumped to three-wide racing from the start, and the first caution of the day came during lap 11 for a multi-car incident in Turn 1. DiBenedetto avoided the collision and told his team under the caution that he had no complaints about his Procore Camry's handling. Crew chief Mike Wheeler made the call to hit pit road early for a fuel-only stop on lap 12, and DiBenedetto lined up in ninth for the restart.
- On the restart lap, the Procore Camry jumped up to 5th before getting shuffled back into 15th the next time by due to limited drafting partners. The team decided to try to stretch their fuel run in an effort to not pit before the end of Stage 1, so DiBenedetto went to work cruising around the middle of the pack in order to help his team with the strategy. Several cars began to hit pit road with many running out of fuel as Stage 1 came to an end, but the Procore team made it to the break following lap 55.
- This time DiBenedetto came in for four tires, fuel, and an air pressure adjustment on lap 57 and lined up in 11th for the restart to begin Stage 2 and lap 61. Over the next run, DiBenedetto remained within the top-20, despite the fact that the field continued to jockey around for positions each lap. A series of green-flag pit stops began to cycle through the field starting at lap 82 as DiBenedetto told his team that the No. 95 machine was a "little tight off exit." Wheeler called his driver in for service on lap 92 for another fuel-only stop. Stage 2 came to an end following lap 110 with the Procore Camry in 17th at the time.
- During the caution following the end of Stage 2, the Procore Camry took four tires, fuel, and another round of air pressure adjustments in an effort to help with the "tight off" handling that DiBenedetto was experiencing. Stage 3 began with lap 117 and the Procore Camry lined up in 15th at the time. By lap 139, DiBenedetto was back into the top-10 where he jumped up to second as the field once again battled three-wide for track position as they worked to see which lane had the better momentum. Another series of green-flag pit stops began to cycle starting at lap 154 and the Procore Camry took fuel on lap 156 after leading lap 155.
- As the field finished their pit stop cycles, the Procore Camry got as high as third again before DiBenedetto radioed in about how incredibly tight his race car had gotten when he got shuffled out of his lane on lap 175. DiBenedetto was able to remain in the top-20, but as the laps began to wind down in the race, business was starting to pick up on track. On lap 182, the No. 10 made contact with the No. 37 sending it hard into the wall. The Procore Camry sustained catastrophic damage from several cars collected in the melee and ended the team's day with only seven laps remaining in the event.
- Chase Elliott went on to win Sunday's race at Talladega while Alex Bowman, Ryan Preece, Joey Logano, and Daniel Hemric rounded out the top-five finishers. DiBenedetto was scored with a 31st-place finish with his Procore Camry.
2019 No. 95 Season Summary:
Starts - 10
Wins - 0
Top 5’s - 0
Top 10’s - 0
Poles - 0
Gander RV 400
Dover International Speedway (1.0-mile)
Sunday, May 5, 2019