Box Score Info:
RACE: NASCAR Monster Energy NASCAR Cup Series; TicketGuardian 500
TRACK: ISM Raceway
DRIVER: Matt DiBenedetto
CAR: No. 95 Procore Toyota Camry
POINTS POSITION: 57 total points for the season; currently 24th in the driver point standings
- NASCAR's top series continued its west coast swing with a visit to ISM Raceway located in Phoenix, Arizona for the season's fourth points event. Matt DiBenedetto showed speed in his No. 95 Procore Toyota Camry during Friday's practice session prior to qualifying, but after a disappointing qualifying effort that found other cars interfering with their lap, the team spent Saturday's practice sessions working on various set-ups in race trim. After starting Sunday's event from 25th, DiBenedetto drove his way into the top-10 at the beginning of Stage 2 as the Procore Camry remained within the top-15 until a battery issue forced the team to pit under green for a new battery with just under 50 laps remaining. In the end, DiBenedetto was scored with a 28th-place finish despite such a promising run for much of the race.
- Sunday's TicketGuardian 500 took the green flag at 12:47 p.m. PST as the event saw the field charge three and four-wide from the start. DiBenedetto was able to improve to 22nd in the Procore Camry early on even with the new rules package that makes it difficult to advance your way forward through the field due to aerodynamics. Around lap 30, DiBenedetto called in over the team radio to crew chief Mike Wheeler that his No. 95 machine was "really not bad, but it's just a little tight off of (Turn) 4." A caution at lap 38 allowed the team to hit pit road for their first stop of the afternoon, and the Procore Camry received four tires, fuel, and an air pressure adjustment.
- The race returned to green on lap 45 with DiBenedetto scored in 20th at the time. Another caution came soon after, and DiBenedetto told his team that the Procore Camry was "a little free in, but the center's OK." This time Wheeler opted for a wedge adjustment on the team's four-tire stop and the Procore Camry lined up in 22nd for the restart after a few cars opted to stay out under the caution.
- Stage 1 ended following lap 75 and Wheeler made the call to stay out in an effort to gain valuable track position. The race returned to green on lap 84 with the Procore Camry scored in 12th, and on the restart lap, DiBenedetto jumped into the top-10. As the run went on, the No. 95 dipped back to 14th as DiBenedetto told his team "it needs a tiny bit more in that same direction" and that the Procore Camry was a "little free on entry." A caution at lap 148 as the race was approaching the end of Stage 2, found the team making both wedge and air pressure adjustments after DiBenedetto had said that he was experiencing some slightly loose and tight-handling conditions.
- Stage 3 began at lap 158 with DiBenedetto lined up in 14th, and on the restart lap he jumped up to tenth before once again settling back into 14th. By lap 188, DiBenedetto told his team "the car's pretty good and both of those adjustments were just what I needed." By lap 219 however, some of the handling began to change in the Procore Camry as DiBenedetto described the sensation as that the car was "bound up" at the time. The team hit pit road for a four-tire stop with adjustments on lap 220 under caution as several competitors opted to only take two tires.
- By lap 247, the Procore Camry was back in 14th after DiBenedetto told his team that the Procore Camry was just "too tight to take off." Before the team could further discuss the handling of their race car, on lap 260, DiBenedetto radioed in that the battery was dying in his race car. On lap 264, the Procore Camry was forced to come down pit road as the team went to work changing out the car battery. The unscheduled green-flag stop found DiBenedetto fall four laps down to the race leaders and back into 28th-place, which is where he remained for the rest of the event.
- Kyle Busch drove off with the victory Sunday afternoon in Phoenix while Martin Truex, Jr., Ryan Blaney, Aric Almirola, and Denny Hamlin rounded out the top-five finishers. DiBenedetto was scored with a 28th-place finish due to the battery issue despite such a promising run in his Procore Camry.
2019 No. 95 Season Summary:
Starts - 4
Wins - 0
Top 5's - 0
Top 10's - 0
Poles - 0
Auto Club 400
Auto Club Speedway (2.0-mile)
Sunday, March 17, 2019