Box Score Info:
RACE: NASCAR Monster Energy NASCAR Cup Series; Digital Ally 400
TRACK: Kansas Speedway
DRIVER: Matt DiBenedetto
CAR: No. 95 Digital Momentum / HubSpot Toyota Camry
POINTS POSITION: 167 total points for the season; currently 25th in the driver point standings
Monster Energy NASCAR Cup Series teams traveled to Kansas Speedway for this weekend’s race on Saturday night on Mother’s Day weekend. Teams had two practice sessions on Friday followed by single-car qualifying Friday evening with post-qualifying tech occurring on Saturday. 11 cars ended up having issues in tech on Saturday which allowed the No. 95 Digital Momentum / HubSpot Camry to improve its starting position by several spot. DiBenedetto started from 20th, and despite an untimely caution that fell during a green-flag pit stop cycle, the team fought back to remain within the top-20 until the motor blew with under ten laps remaining in the race. In the end, DiBenedetto was scored with a 36th-place finish at Kansas.
Saturday night’s Digital Ally 400 took the green flag at 6:52 p.m. CST to start the 267-lap event. DiBenedetto rolled off from the 20th starting spot in his No. 95 Digital Momentum / HubSpot Toyota Camry as the field immediately spread out battling for position. During the opening run of the race, DiBenedetto told crew chief Mike Wheeler that the No. 95 machine was loose at the time and that if felt as though the car was “out of the track.” A competition caution came following lap 30 due to rain overnight, and it allowed DiBenedetto and Wheeler an opportunity to further discuss the handling. DiBenedetto told the team “if I had a little more security under me, I could drive harder.”
Wheeler called for four tires, fuel, and an air pressure adjustment on the team’s first pit stop of the day, while nine cars ended up taking two tires under the caution. The race returned to green to begin lap 37 with the No. 95 Camry in 24th at the time. By lap 43, DiBenedetto called in over the team radio that the Digital Momentum / HubSpot Camry was “just too tight and I don’t have the maneuverability in it that I need right now.” Fortunately, a caution came on lap 61 that allowed Wheeler to bring his driver down pit road for adjustments.
The race returned to green to begin lap 66 with DiBenedetto in 20th with just 15 laps remaining in Stage 1. The opening stage of the race ended following lap 80 with the No. 95 Digital Momentum / HubSpot Camry in 17th as DiBenedetto told the team “that run was better with those adjustments, we just need to free it up even more.” Another four-tire stop with adjustments occurred under the caution and DiBenedetto lined up in 17th for the restart.
Stage 2 took the green to begin lap 87, and by lap 101, DiBenedetto told the team “the car’s better and we probably can even use a little more adjustments in this same direction.” Green-flag pit stops began to cycle through the field around lap 122 and Wheeler called his driver in for service on lap 124. With four fresh tires and fuel, the Digital Momentum / HubSpot Camry continued to improve as DiBenedetto reported on lap 138 that the track was gaining grip as the race went on, and that his car was handling better as well.
Stage 2 ended following lap 160 with DiBenedetto in 19th as he and Wheeler further discussed the No. 95. After another four-tire stop, Stage 3 began with the field taking the green flag to start lap 168. DiBenedetto restarted in 20th and told his team that the No. 95 was “a little free in clean air” to start off the run. Green-flag pit stops began to cycle starting around lap 208 and Wheeler called his driver down pit road on lap 216. Unfortunately, right after DiBenedetto completed his pit stop during the green-flag cycle, a caution came out due to a runaway tire on pit road and the untimely flag trapped the No. 95 laps down to the race leaders at the time. The team stayed out to earn a lap back, but they were still a lap down to the leaders when the race returned to green to begin lap 229.
As the race wound down, DiBenedetto fought hard to maintain his top-20 positioning, but with under ten laps remaining in the race, he radioed into his team that it felt as though he was having an engine issue. A lap later, smoke started to come out of the No. 95 Digital Momentum / HubSpot Camry, and DiBenedetto was forced to go to the garage ending his night.
Brad Keselowski drove away with the victory Saturday night under the lights at Kansas while Alex Bowman, Erik Jones, Chase Elliott, and Clint Bowyer rounded out the top-five. DiBenedetto was scored with a 36th-place finish.
2019 No. 95 Season Summary:
Starts - 12
Wins - 0
Top 5's - 0
Top 10's - 0
Poles - 0
Monster Energy Open
Charlotte Motor Speedway (1.5-mile)
Saturday, May 18, 2019