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Matt DiBenedetto proud of New Hampshire effort

Photo by Chris Salazar/TRE

A late-race gamble by Matt DiBenedetto and crew chief Jonathan Hasslet netted their No. 21 Wood Brothers Racing team an 11th-place finish in the Foxwoods Resort Casino 301 at New Hampshire Motor Speedway Sunday.

DiBenedetto led 20 laps in the third stage of the race, hoping to catch the 10 laps to go call NASCAR was prepared to make with impending darkness at the Magic Mile.

“I was hoping they were gonna throw the 10 to go when we were leading,” DiBenedetto. “It was getting pretty dark. Hassler and our guys made a great attempt and call trying to snag one there.

“We started off and had to really crank on it today, and we got it way better. Then we stayed out and knew we’d sacrifice some track position if it did stay green and we didn’t get the 10 to go deal and we didn’t. But we did a two-tire deal and made it work and instead of finishing eighth we finished 11th and it was totally worth the gamble, so great job.”

DiBenedetto surrendered the lead on lap 273, 10 laps before NASCAR told the teams they would call the race early.

“It just shows how good our team is,” DiBenedetto said. “There are still a lot of proud things to take out of it.

“…If we didn’t throw a Hail Mary, instead of finishing 11th we would have been eighth, so it just shows yet again that even on our bad day we were gonna run top 10, so it just shows the strength of our team.”

DiBenedetto is still searching for his first win in the NASCAR Cup Series.

With four races before the start of the playoffs, DiBenedetto is 143 points outside the cutline. A victory in one of the finals races before the playoffs is likely his only chance at qualifying for the postseason for a second consecutive year.

Ford Performance

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