Matt DiBenedetto
Wood Brothers Racing
2020 Fantasy Outlook
DiBenedetto is coming off simply an incredible and surprising campaign in 2019. He piloted the small Leavine Family Racing team's Toyota to three Top-5 and seven Top-10 finishes and managed a career-best 22nd-place in the final driver standings. It was a pretty significant jump in performance for the journeyman driver. DiBenedetto's season highlight was easily his near-brush with victory lane in the Bristol night race. He led 93 laps late in that event and looked like a sure winner before Denny Hamlin tracked him down in the closing laps. The runner-up finish was still an incredible feat at a tough short track. DiBenedetto now takes over the seat of the storied No. 21 Wood Brothers Racing Ford. He replaces the just-retired Paul Menard at this team. DiBenedetto should push to retain similar performance at this very capable race team, and challenge the Top 20 in driver points. Read Past Outlooks
Runner-up Finish at Vegas
NASCAR Cup
February 23, 2020
DiBenedetto finished second in the Pennzoil 400 at Las Vegas Motor Speedway Sunday afternoon.
ANALYSIS
The new Wood Brothers Racing driver put on a good show Sunday at Las Vegas. DiBenedetto had good track position to start the race, and he would maintain it for most of the 400-miles. Racing in clean air was supreme, and he would find clean air at the end for the final restart. DiBenedetto would break free of the pack on that frantic restart and would race Joey Logano to the finish. A caution flag for a wreck on the last lap would keep DiBenedetto from getting that shot. The runner-up finish was his first Top 5 of the season and fourth Top 5 of his career.
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Past Fantasy Outlooks
2019
2018
2017
2014
DiBenedetto ended a two season relationship with Go FAS Racing and will join Leavine Family Racing for the 2019 season. The 27-year-old journeyman driver is now with his third race team in five years, and this could be his best situation yet. DiBenedetto labored to just one Top-10 finish all of last season, and his 27.0 average finish was a career best mark, but only amounted to a 29th-place finish in the final points of 2018. LFR has made great strides with Michael McDowell and Kasey Kahne the last few years and they see this young driver as the next step in their progression. Crew Chief Mike Wheeler comes in from Joe Gibbs Racing (Denny Hamlin) and will take over the leadership role for the team. The pairing of DiBenedetto and Wheeler is a promising link up. This team could move from a 30th-place team to pushing the Top-25 in 2019.
DiBenedetto wound up making the best out of his situation at Go Fas Racing last season. The 26-year-old Californian took the No. 32 Ford team to new heights and posted good finishes in this small single-car team. DiBenedetto nabbed two Top-10 finishes (Daytona & Indianapolis) and he grabbed five Top-20 finishes. It all led to a 32nd-place finish in the final driver points, and a 27.1 average finish for the 36 events. It was the best campaign of his three-season Monster Energy Cup Series career. DiBenedetto returns to this team in 2018, and crew chief Gene Nead also returns to guide the effort. If he hopes to improve in his fourth Cup season, DiBenedetto will need to reduce the DNF's. He had six of those last year, and it was a bit of a drag on his consistency.
After two full seasons of Monster Energy Cup Series racing with BK Racing, DiBenedetto comes over to Go FAS Racing for the 2017 season. The young driver will team up with veteran crew chief Gene Nead and run the full season for this single-car operation. GFR has purchased some new cars from Richard Petty Motorsports and they plan on racing more competitively this season. DiBenedetto posted his first-career Top-10 finish (Bristol) in 2016 and showed some incremental improvement over his rookie campaign. Those are good signs as he heads over from BK Racing to Go FAS Racing. This team has used multi-driver lineups since their inception five years ago, so to commit to a single driver for an entire season marks a first at GFR. It really shows what they think of DiBenedetto's capabilities and talents.
The 23-year-old Californian launched his Sprint Cup Series career with BK Racing last season. DiBenedetto made 33 of the 36 events and registered only four top-25 finishes, with most coming early in the season. While it has not been officially announced that the team and this young driver are returning in 2016, it's assumed that they will race again in the upcoming season. Gene Nead took over the crew chief duties of the team midway into last season, and he would be expected to return in that capacity. Due to the limited budget and limited resources of this small team, not much if any improvement is expected in the near future.
More Fantasy News
Taking over new ride in 2020
NASCAR Cup
September 10, 2019
DiBenedetto will replace Paul Menard in the No. 21 car for the Woods Brothers Racing team beginning in 2020, NASCAR.com reports.
ANALYSIS
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Runner-up Finish at Bristol
NASCAR Cup
August 17, 2019
DiBenedetto finished second in the Bass Pro Shops NRA Night Race at Bristol Motor Speedway Saturday night.
ANALYSIS
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Fast Bristol Happy Hour
NASCAR Cup
August 16, 2019
DiBenedetto was fastest in Happy Hour practice for the Bass Pro Shops NRA Night Race at Bristol Motor Speedway Friday. He turned a fast lap of 128.848 mph.
ANALYSIS
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Out at Leavine Family Racing
NASCAR Cup
August 15, 2019
DiBenedetto tweeted confirmation that he will not return to the No. 95 Leavine Family Racing team in 2020.
ANALYSIS
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Fifth at Loudon
NASCAR Cup
July 21, 2019
DiBenedetto finished fifth in the Foxwoods Resort Casino 301 at New Hampshire Motor Speedway Sunday afternoon.
ANALYSIS
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