Getting his start on dirt tracks in California, Matt DiBenedetto moved with his family to Hickory, NC, the heart of NASCAR country to pursue his dream hoping to someday drive in the Sprint Cup Series.
In 2008, a simple piece of paper, dreams of NASCAR success were becoming a reality with Joe Gibbs Racing. JGR secured a spot for Matt in the Camping World East Series, where Matt thrived while locking down two victories, three pole positions, and five Top 10 finishes. Just after he turned 18, excited by his prospects, the organization give Matt a shot in NASCAR’s Nationwide Series. Making his first appearance, Matt raised eyebrows by qualifying in the Top 5 and finishing 14th. Immediately, it was clear that Matt could hold his own in the pack and earned that year two Top 10 finishes.
Sometimes the road is long, but in the end, hard work makes it even more worth it in the end. While Matt faced hardest time, other teams took notice. At the 2015 Coke Zero 400, Matt would check off another milestone by leading his first lap in the Sprint Cup Series.
2016 started with a Top 10 at the Can-Am Duals, even though Matt had never even been to the Daytona 500 until he raced at this event. From then on out, Matt consistently started races and finished them stronger and stronger. That year would also mark Bristol as Matt’s favorite track in the Sprint Cup Series circuit. Starting 30th, Matt’s car progressively improved throughout the race. Bristol, more than other tracks, tests a driver’s skill and endurance, and as the race wore on, Matt moved up the leaderboard. Veteran Crew Chief Gene Nead made an adjustment that turned a good car into a great one. Matt steadily climbed the ranks. When the race was done, Matt finished 6th, the highest finish in the Sprint Cup Series for himself. After the race, Matt celebrated the finish as a win for the team, and it introduced him to a wave of new fans.
That momentum has carried Mat onward as he settles into NASCAR’s premier series and reaches for new heights. While only 25, he’s earned respect from other drivers such as Dale Earnhardt Jr. who called him, “One of the most underrated drivers in the series.”
After two decades of racing, there’s another green flag-waving for the kid from California, going into the 2017 season in NASCAR’s premier series. Pursuing another opportunity with Go FAS Racing, Matt DiBenedetto will field the No. 32 Can-Am Ford Fusion.
3 Wins in NASCAR K&N Pro Series East
2 Top 10 NASCAR Xfinity Series