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NASCAR: Matt DiBenedetto finishes out strong with P25 at Phoenix

Before he raced today, Matt DiBenedetto endured a tough week to offer after having revealed to fans that he doesn’t have enough sponsors to help progress his season forward for this weekend.

But also with the added support of money granted from both Kevin Harvick and Denny Hamlin plus several other organizations, DiBenedetto was able to focus on what he can do best on the race track.

What’s even better for him yesterday that he helped out MRN’s NASCAR XFINITY Series Radio coverage as a guest analyst.

Now we’ll see how he goes with the No.32 Ford Fusion throughout the three stages he completed today.

Stage 1

DiBenedetto was off to a great start when he got around the No.95 of Kasey Kahne for the 30th spot.

While the 1st caution came out over an expired motor on Cole Whitt, the No.32 Ford Fusion came on pit road for adjustments to air pressure and the chassis plus four tires and fuel.

He remained unchallenged for a while before he moved up another position on Chris Buescher to P29.

The car was a little loose having reported to Crew Chief Randy Cox earlier in the first segment.

But he struggled in trying to gain overall grip which pushed him to a lap down.

If DiBenedetto held onto Kyle Busch, then he might’ve got the free pass which instead belonged to the No.15 of Ross Chastain.

There’s still some work to do in rejoining the lead lap as he finished P31 at the end of the 1st stanza.

Stage 2

Having still struggled to gain grip, DiBenedetto battled the whole time by defending his race position.

But after the wreck of Kyle Larson at the apron, DiBenedetto switched tactics by staying out on track.

That’s worked out well by regaining the lead lap while still running in P30 with older tires.

Stage 3

DiBenedetto stayed out on track once again when he restarted on P21 in the final stage.

He was worried at one time when he suspected about Michael McDowell’s power steering issue.

That was when DiBenedetto was getting fluid on his windshield from McDowell’s car before the No.32 vehicle gave the all clear when McDowell came on pit road to fix his mechanical issue.

He began to gain speed over the bottom of the apron in order to help rotate the car in P28.

With Paul Menard making substantial contact with the wall, DiBenedetto made changes to the left rear chassis in the hope of gaining short track runs.

When the green flag pit stop cycle came into play, DiBenedetto stayed out on track within the Top 10 before the No.32 car made significant changes to help DiBenedetto bring home towards the end of the checkered flag.

With ten laps to go, DiBenedetto tried to keep on hold of Kasey Kahne before he passed DiBenedetto for P24.

Despite losing a position to Kahne, Matt DiBenedetto steered his No.32 Ford Fusion to a 25th place finish at the end of the final stanza.

His 2018 season so far

  • Four starts
  • Two Top 25 finishes at Las Vegas and Phoenix
  • 1092 of 1111 laps completed, 98.3%
  • Average Start of 32 and Finish of 26.2
  • Currently ranked 30th in the 2018 Cup Drivers’ standings with 43 points.

Conclusion

Once again, his new assistant of Crew Chief Randy Cox has helped DiBenedetto post his second straight Top 25 so far this season.

The best of any single car independent team.

He raced actively throughout today’s race where he evaluated some positive and negative observations.

Then he switched to Plan B before he ended the weekend on a positive note.

It’s not easy to keep running a small independent team like GO FAS Racing for the entire season with a lot of big-name sponsorship.

Without the added support of Denny Hamlin, Kevin Harvick plus other organizations, DiBenedetto wouldn’t make it to ISM Raceway on time.

It’s been inspiring for DiBenedetto to come out on track with the support given over the last few days and finish within the Top 25 as a single car team.

To accomplish that feat today it means so much to him, GO FAS Racing and the return of the people who worked so hard to help continue his underrated Cup career.

Way to go Matt DiBenedetto and the GO FAS Racing organization today.

References

Image and Statistics: Racing Reference.

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