Box Score Info:
RACE: NASCAR Monster Energy NASCAR Cup Series; Daytona 500
TRACK: Daytona International Speedway
DRIVER: Matt DiBenedetto
CAR: No. 95 Procore Camry
POINTS POSITION: 21 total points for the season; currently 20th in the driver point standings
After finishing fourth in their Duel race on Thursday night, Matt DiBenedetto and his No. 95 Procore team earned themselves a top-ten starting position for Sunday’s 61st running of the Daytona 500. The prestigious race is one that drivers spend their whole lives hoping to win, and for DiBenedetto, he showed the sport that he and his team were serious about chasing that title. DiBenedetto led for 49 laps on Sunday with his Procore Camry and was the lap leader in the event. The strong showing for the No. 95 team was cut short, however, with ten laps slated to remain in the race at the time, when “the Big One” happened on Lap 191 ending the team’s night. Despite such a strong performance out of the their Procore Camry, DiBenedetto and his team were relegated to a 28th-place finish in the season-opener.
The Daytona 500 took the green flag at 3:07 p.m. EST to begin the opening 60-lap stage of the race. DiBenedetto and his No. 95 Procore Camry started from ninth, and on the opening lap, improved to sixth. By lap 3, the No. 95 was in third, and on lap 7, DiBenedetto took over the lead. The first caution of the afternoon came on lap 21 for debris and it allowed crew chief Mike Wheeler to check in with his driver who told the team “the car was fine there, I have no complaints.” Wheeler made the call for four tires and fuel on lap 22 under the caution before the race returned to green to start lap 25.
Due to varying pit strategies by manufacturers, over the next run, the Procore Camry was stuck back in the pack and dipped into 25th at lap 33. On lap 36, DiBenedetto radioed in to his team “I have nowhere to go right now, so I’m trying to be smart.” A caution at lap 51 allowed the team to once again pit for four tires and fuel before Stage 1 ended following lap 60. Wheeler opted for a fuel-only stop on lap 62 under the caution, and when the race returned to green to begin Stage 2, the Procore Camry was lined up in 14th.
Shortly after the restart, DiBenedetto worked his way back into the lead on lap 74 as he continued to tell his team “everything’s still fine here.” The Procore Camry kept its place in the top spot through lap 107 when a caution came. Wheeler called for four tires and fuel for the No. 95 machine, and DiBenedetto lined up in eighth for the restart. Stage 2 came to an end with DiBenedetto in sixth as Wheeler decided to take left-side tires and fuel for the team’s next pit stop of the afternoon.
Restarting in tenth on lap 126, DiBenedetto once again began to drive his way forward through the pack before another caution came on lap 160 that involved several cars as they were entering pit road. DiBenedetto restarted in seventh to begin lap 168 and continued to fight for his top-ten positioning as more cautions ensued.
On lap 188, the No. 2 car brought out the caution after he spun which set up a restart to begin lap 191. During the restart, DiBenedetto and his Procore Camry got collected in the first multi-car melee that damaged 21 cars and brought out the red flag for just under 25 minutes. The damage was terminal for the Procore team and ended the team’s night after completing 190 of the 200 scheduled laps.
Denny Hamlin went on to win Sunday’s Daytona 500 earning his second career victory in the event. Kyle Busch, Erik Jones, Joey Logano, and Michael McDowell were the top-five finishers while DiBenedetto was scored with a 28th-place finish in his Procore Camry.
2019 No. 95 Season Summary:
Starts - 1
Wins - 0
Top 5's - 0
Top 10's - 0
Poles - 0
Folds of Honor QuikTrip 500
Atlanta Motor Speedway (1.5-mile)
Sunday, February 24th, 2019