MENCS: Matt DiBenedetto Shines at Daytona With New Team Before Crash


When Monster Energy NASCAR Cup Series driver Matt DiBenedetto announced he was leaving Go Fas Racing and the No. 32 team last season, he didn’t have a ride lined up for the 2019 season.

The California native was confident something great would come along.
DiBenedetto would be right about that.

In October it was announced that DiBenedetto would be joining Leavine Family Racing in the No.95, a car vacated by a retiring Kasey Kahne.

Fast forward to 2019 speed weeks at Daytona International Speedway and there’s been no looking back for DiBenedetto and his 95 team.

Last Thursday, DiBenedetto was in the first of the two duel qualifying races for the 61st running of the Daytona 500.

DiBenedetto would cross the checkers for a 4th place result and start The Great American Race in the 9th position. His No.95 was also the highest qualifying Toyota in the field. Denny Hamlin and his No.11 FedEx Toyota for Joe Gibbs Racing was the only other Toyota with a top-10 starting spot with a 10th place qualifying result.

DiBenedetto would quickly find his way to the lead on lap 7 to lead his first career laps in the Daytona 500.

Through-out the first stage DiBenedetto would lead for numerous laps and would find himself finishing the first stage in the 24 position.

When stage 2 went green, DiBenedetto would consistently run in the top-10, finding himself leading the race once again, ultimately finishing in the 6th position.

The 95 would take right side tires and fuel when the caution waved on lap 163. As the third stage began, DiBenedetto’s  Toyota continued to run within’ the top-10, running as high as 4th.

Than the big one happened, the No.21 of Paul Menard bumped DiBenedetto too hard which turned the No.95 and in turn caused a multi-car crash, ending DiBenedetto’s day.

“Just a racing deal, not anything intentional. It was the most fun speedway event I’ve had in my life, DiBenedetto said.” DiBenedetto led on two different occasions for 49 laps. In his previous 140 MENCS starts he had only led for a combined 23 laps.

The MENCS will head to Atlanta Motor Speedway for the Folds of Honor QuikTrip 500 set for February 24 at 2:00pm EST.

Fantasy Note: In 3 MENCS starts at AMS, DiBendetto has a best finish of 28th coming in 2017 when he was with Go FAS Racing in the No. 32 Can/Am-Kappa Ford. He has an average start of 29.0 and an average finish of 29.3.

Stay connected with Matt and LFR

Official Websites:,

Twitter: @mattdracing, @LFR95


Instagram: @mattdracing, _lfr95

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About Sarah Handy

Sarah is going into her third year covering NASCAR for Rubbings Racing as well as helping run their Social Media platforms. Born and raised in Rhode Island, Sarah is an avid racing fan as well as a fan of the major New England sports teams. She is currently studying Public Relations and Marketing at SNHU with plans to move to North Carolina after graduation. Sarah also enjoys visiting her home track of NHMS each year, reading, running and photography.

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