DiBenedetto’s Confidence Beaming With Joy

Matt DiBenedetto has been going for stage points lately. He knows his car is fast enough to be a playoff car and he just needs to accumulate enough points for the rest of the regular season in order to make the postseason for the first time of his career.

You can see the blueprint that they’re taking. They’ve elected for stage points at Pocono and Indy and throwing out a chance at a win. By doing so, the confidence kept going up. The race cars in turn kept getting better.

“I’d say the start of the year — I could look at every racetrack we’ve been to, every single one, we’ve had a lot of car speed other than Darlington,” DiBenedetto said. “The only track where I was disappointed with our racecar.  

“Really we just had to work on working together and meshing as a team because we just didn’t execute real well at some races, made some mistakes, were kind of comers and goers, this and that. 

“Lately we’ve really gotten our communication on track, working together.  You have to communicate a lot during the week.  Not like we have this practice weekends.  We’re having to do different things.  It’s really meshed. 

“Looking forward to the rest of the season, consistency is going to be key.  That’s what we’re having lately, is consistent runs from start to finish.  We’ve gotten stage points in all the last six stages or something like that of these last handful of races.  That shows the strength of our team moving forward for the rest of the year.”

On Sunday, he netted eight more stage points in the Quaker State 400 which keeps moving him up.

On a 1.5-mile track though, stage points can factor into a good finish as well. DiBenedetto, brought his No. 21 Ford home third at the Kentucky Speedway to not only salvage a great day on points, but a great finish too.

The Wood Brothers driver has two top six finishes in his last three starts on the season and two top fives now. This is what he calls the most confident he’s ever been in a Cup car.

“No, never,” said DiBenedetto on of his confidence has ever been higher. “I’ve never been this comfortable and this confident.  

“What does that, though, is my team. Driving this 21 car for the Wood Brothers, having such a good team, great people around you.  

“Firing off the race with no practice, yeah, it’s pretty good, don’t really touch it.  Tiny air pressure.  That’s amazing to have that good of people here.  

“Having our alliance with Team Penske, support from them.  All the support from Ford.  That is what does it.  That’s what makes my confidence so high because I’m so confident in my guys.”

Now it’s go Wednesday nights All-Star Race. DiBenedetto is happy it was moved to Bristol this year. See, that’s his best track. While he has to race his way in from the open, it’s entirely possible that if he can reach the main event, he’s a strong sleeper to win it all.

“Obviously I’m pretty glad that it’s at Bristol,” he said. “I think it’s cool, a cool change.  I’m a little biased, though.  I love Bristol so much.  One of my favorite tracks. 

“I’m excited to have the opportunity to race our way in.  I know the fan vote is important, too.  People have been voting, which we appreciate a lot as a team. 

“You guys see how fast our cars are.  It makes it so fun driving these things.  We’re really getting in a groove as a team now.  I finally feel it clicking real well. 

“I’m looking forward to going to the All-Star Race.  Obviously having it at Bristol, one of my best and favorite tracks.  We had a pretty good car there when we raced there not long ago. 

“We get a good starting spot, have a good track position, I feel like we can race our way in and be fast.”

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