Matt DiBenedetto
Leavine Family Racing
2019 Fantasy Outlook
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. Read Past Outlooks
Career-Best Finish at Sonoma
NASCAR Cup
June 23, 2019
DiBenedetto finished fourth in the Toyota/Save Mart 350 at Sonoma Raceway Sunday afternoon.
ANALYSIS
One of the bigger underdog stories of the afternoon in the Toyota/Save Mart 350 was DiBenedetto's great drive and the No. 95 team's incredible performance. The young driver started 19th on the grid and gradually worked his way forward. DiBenedetto would race inside the Top 15 most of the afternoon, and push inside the Top 10 at times. Good pit strategy would lead to good track position late, and DiBenedetto would put on a methodical march to penetrate the Top 5. It was his first-career Top-5 finish in his 156th-career start.
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Past Fantasy Outlooks
2018
2017
2014
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
Heartbroken after Daytona 500
NASCAR Cup
February 18, 2019
DiBenedetto had the race of his life on Sunday at Daytona International Speedway, leading more laps in one race than he had in his entire career and looking to have a shot to win the Daytona 500. Unfortunately for DiBenedetto and a host of others, it all went wrong on a restart with 10 laps to go, with a massive, multi-car accident breaking out down the backstretch and marring the closing stages of The Great American Race, speedsport.com reports.
ANALYSIS
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Gets new crew chief
NASCAR Cup
November 27, 2018
Leavine Family Racing is proud to announce that Mike Wheeler is joining the organization as the crew chief for the No. 95 Monster Energy NASCAR Cup Series team for the 2019 season, Leavine Family Racing PR reports.
ANALYSIS
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Seventh-Place in Coke Zero Sugar 400
NASCAR Cup
July 8, 2018
DiBenedetto finished seventh in the Coke Zero Sugar 400 at Daytona International Speedway Saturday night.
ANALYSIS
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Team and Crew Chief Part Ways
NASCAR Cup
March 1, 2018
After only two races in the 2018 Cup season, Go Fas Racing announced Tuesday it has mutually parted ways with crew chief Gene Nead. Nead had been partnered with DiBenedetto since 2016 when he drove for BK Racing before joining GFR in 2017, NBC Sports reports.
ANALYSIS
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Daytona 500 Sponsor Named
NASCAR Cup
February 7, 2018
Go Fas Racing has announced today that Entertainment Studios' new film, The Hurricane Heist, will be the primary sponsor of DiBenedetto's No.32 Ford Fusion for the Daytona 500, Go Fas Racing PR reports.
ANALYSIS
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