LAS VEGAS — Matt DiBenedetto was no stranger to the top 10 near the end of Sunday’s Pennzoil 400 but a late-race chain of events resulted in a career-best second place finish for him.
DiBenedetto was one of seven drivers to stay out under a Lap 261 caution and restarted third. Despite making contact with William Byron in turn 1 with two to go, which eventually cut down Byron’s left rear tire, DiBenedetto was able to finish second.
“I got underneath him and he kept coming down,” DiBenedetto commented. “Just an aggressive move, by me, but there was room and I was there and he obviously didn’t want me to get there and he kept on coming down and we made contact.”
“I had to go to the apron and everything but I stayed in the gas ’cause it was an overtime and I sure as heck wasn’t lifting.”
The second place finish matched his best career finish that came in the August Bristol night race driving the no. 95 Leavine Family Racing Toyota.
DiBenedetto signed on with the storied Wood Brothers Racing at the recommendation of his predecessor Paul Menard. The top five finish was his first with the team and the first for the Wood Brothers since the 2018 June Michigan race where Menard finished fifth.
“It’s so cool ’cause driving for such an amazing family and that I’ve been a fan of,” “It doesn’t even seem like it’s quite real.”
“You couldn’t have even scripted it like this. It’s cool to be driving for such a legendary team.”
DiBenedetto and the no. 21 Wood Brothers Racing team will move on to Auto Club Speedway March 1. DiBenedetto finished 18th there last year while the no. 21 team finished 20th with Paul Menard driving.