DiBenedetto Looks to Build on 2020 Success

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DiBenedetto looks to build on his 2020 success starting at Daytona.

As one of NASCAR’s favorite sons, Matt DiBenedetto has fans cheering for his underdog stories and competitors respecting the highly-motivated march to a top-tier team. The 29-year old Californian has worked his way up the NASCAR Cup Series ranks and will drive the No. 21 Wood Brothers Ford for the second consecutive season. He tied his career-best NASCAR Cup Series finish with runner-up showings at both Las Vegas races and a third-place finish at Kentucky last year. And he finished out 2020 with three straight top-ten runs – promising that a good conclusion to 2020 is a good omen to the start of 2021.

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Matt DiBenedetto is Set to Make his First Playoff Appearance

Matt DiBenedetto is set to make his first NASCAR Cup Series playoff appearance at Darlington Raceway on Sunday, September 6th.

Matt DiBenedetto is set to make his first NASCAR Cup Series playoff appearance at Darlington Raceway on Sunday, September 6th.

As the checkered flag was falling on the Coke Zero Sugar 400 at Daytona International Speedway last Saturday night, one driver most certainly was breathing a huge sigh of relief.  Matt DiBenedetto, the driver of the No. 21 Wood Brothers Racing Ford is in the 2020 NASCAR Cup Series Playoffs.  In his post-race interview, he talks about how mentally exhausting the pressure cooker of a race was for him.

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Part Four No. 48 Series: Matt DiBenedetto in Line for Chance of a Lifetime

Part Four No. 48 Series pose answers to two questions, can Matt DiBenedetto get the opportunity of a lifetime?  And, what are his chances of falling upward one more time?
HOMESTEAD, FLORIDA – JUNE 14: Matt DiBenedetto, driver of the #21 Motorcraft/Quick Lane Ford, stands on the grid prior to the NASCAR Cup Series Dixie Vodka 400 at Homestead-Miami Speedway on June 14, 2020 in Homestead, Florida. (Photo by Chris Graythen/Getty Images)

Part Four No. 48 Series pose answers to two questions, can Matt DiBenedetto get the opportunity of a lifetime? And, what are his chances of falling upward one more time?

Read Parts One, Two, and Three

Matt DiBenedetto is arguably one of the biggest feel-good stories in recent NASCAR memory.  The former NASCAR-Next driver and Joe Gibbs Racing prospect has worked himself from the near bottom to the top of the sport. 

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In Focus: Matt DiBenedetto at Wood Brothers Racing

Matt DiBenedetto speaks with the press members during Media Day at Daytona International Speedway.
DAYTONA BEACH, FLORIDA – FEBRUARY 12: Matt DiBenedetto, driver of the No. 21 Motorcraft/Quick Lane Ford, speaks with the media during the NASCAR Cup Series 62nd Annual Daytona 500 Media Day at Daytona International Speedway on February 12, 2020, in Daytona Beach, Florida. Photo by Jared C. Tilton/Getty Images

Matt DiBenedetto is our first driver in a new feature at Fan4Racing. ‘In Focus’ will put a spotlight on various NASCAR drivers, crew members, and people in the industry. We also hope fans will enjoy learning more about each person.

At Wood Brothers Racing for the 2020 season, Matt DiBenedetto has made the most of his journey to get there. So, it’s not surprising that we might expect him to make the most of his time in the No. 21 for the organization. And so far, DiBenedetto is on a roll.

With just two NASCAR Cup Series races in the books, DiBenedetto is having his best-ever start of a season. It’s clearly still too early to judge his entire season. But his results thus far give some reason for optimism. With finishes of 19th at Daytona and a second at Las Vegas, he’s in a three-way tie inside the top-ten of the series point standings. And just 25 points away from the lead.

NASCAR Cup Series Point Standings

For the first time in his career, DiBenedetto is even with Denny Hamlin and Jimmie Johnson at this point in the season. Hamlin is a three-time Daytona 500 winner. While Johnson is a seven-time Cup Series champion. Heading to Auto Club Speedway this weekend, that certainly gives DiBenedetto some confidence in that kind of company.

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Tale of Two Races for Team Penske

DOVER, DELAWARE – OCTOBER 06: Joey Logano, driver of the #22 Shell Pennzoil Ford, stands on the grid prior to the start of the Monster Energy NASCAR Cup Series Drydene 400 at Dover International Speedway on October 06, 2019 in Dover, Delaware. Photo by Jeff Zelevansky/Getty Images

Brad Keselowski and Paul Menard put in solid performances for Team Penske and its affiliate Wood Brothers Racing on Sunday with finishes of 11th and 12th respectively.

The results weren’t the same for Keselowski’s teammates Joey Logano and Ryan Blaney.

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