Matt DiBenedetto and the Motorcraft/Quick Lane team rallied from a mid-race incident that resulted in significant damage to the No. 21 Mustang and came home with a 12th place finish in Sunday’s Blue Emu 500 at Martinsville Speedway.
DiBenedetto started the 500-lap race from 22nd place on Saturday night, and had moved to 15th place when rain halted the race after just 42 circuits.
When rain continued into the night, the race was postponed until 4 p.m. on Sunday. When the action resumed, DiBenedetto and the Motorcraft/Quick Lane team showed good speed and were running 13th at the end of the first 130-lap Stage.
In Stage Two, he continued to run just outside the top 10 until the closing laps when he was unable to avoid spinning drivers ahead of him. The contact crumpled the right front fender of the Motorcraft/Quick Lane Mustang, with damage also to the splitter and the front sway bar connection.
Quick work by the Motorcraft/Quick Lane crew led by Jonathan Hassler, filling in for Greg Erwin who contracted COVID-19, allowed DiBenedetto to rejoin the race in 26th place, just one lap down.
He drove his way into the free pass position and rejoined the lead lap when Kyle Busch and Chris Buescher spun as they raced beside him with 178 laps remaining in the race.
Back on the lead lap, he continued to work his way forward, and was able to avoid several accidents. He also steered clear of significant damage when 11 drivers piled up on the backstretch with 114 laps remaining, bringing out the red flag.
When the green flag was displayed again, DiBenedetto was able to move from 16th place to 12th at the checkered flag. It was his fourth straight top-15 finish.
“Our Motorcraft/Quick Lane Mustang was pretty good to start with,” DiBenedetto said. “It had a lot of potential. It could have been a pretty big day for us.”
Then came the damage.
“When Ryan Newman spun in front of me, I just didn’t have anywhere to go,” he said.
But what might have been a disappointing day turned into one to be proud of.
“To come from getting all that damage and losing a lap to getting the lucky dog [free pass] and getting back on the lead lap and finishing 12th was pretty impressive,” DiBenedetto said. “Nobody on the team gave up. Everyone just kept grinding away at it, and we wound up with a decent finish.”
Part of that success included DiBenedetto dodging numerous crashes, many of which occurred just ahead of or beside him.
“It went on the whole day,” he said. “I’m tired. We evaded enough for 10 races.”
Next up for DiBenedetto and the No. 21 team is a Sunday afternoon 400-lapper at Richmond Raceway.
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About Quick Lane Tire & Auto Center
Quick Lane Tire & Auto Center offers extraordinary service for routine vehicle maintenance including tire repair and replacement with a Low Tire Price Guarantee and a full menu of automotive services including oil and filter, brakes, alignments, batteries, and shocks and struts on all vehicle makes and models. Service is performed by certified technicians at more than 1,000 locations worldwide while you wait, and no appointment is necessary. For more information about Quick Lane, please visit www.quicklane.com.
About Ford Motor Company
Ford Motor Company is a global company based in Dearborn, Michigan. The company designs, manufactures, markets and services a full line of Ford cars, trucks, SUVs, electrified vehicles and Lincoln luxury vehicles, provides financial services through Ford Motor Credit Company and is pursuing leadership positions in electrification, autonomous vehicles and mobility solutions. Ford employs approximately 200,000 people worldwide. For more information regarding Ford, its products and Ford Motor Credit Company, please visit www.corporate.ford.com.
Wood Brothers Racing
Wood Brothers Racing was formed in 1950 in Stuart, Va., by Hall of Famer Glen Wood. Wood Brothers Racing is the oldest active team and one of the winningest teams in NASCAR history. Since its founding, the team won 99 races (including at least one race in every decade for the last seven decades) and 120 poles in NASCAR’s top-tier series. Fielding only Ford products for its entire history, the Wood Brothers own the longest association of any motorsports team with a single manufacturer. Glen’s brother, Leonard, is known for inventing the modern pit stop. The team currently runs the Ford Mustang driven by Matt DiBenedetto in the famous No. 21 racer.