Strong Performance at Pocono

Matt DiBenedetto and the No. 21 Motorcraft/Quick Lane team turned in another strong performance in the Sunday’s second half of a double-header at Pocono Raceway.

After finishing 13th and scoring 10 Stage points on Saturday, DiBenedetto and the Motorcraft/Quick Lane team came back on Monday and scored eight more Stage points and finished sixth in the Pocono 350.

Sunday’s finish netted 41 points, the most DiBenedetto has earned in a race this season. He remains 14th in the Cup Series standings, but is just three points behind 13th-place Clint Bowyer and six back of 12th-place Jimmie Johnson.


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DiBenedetto lined up eighth for the start of Sunday’s race and quickly drove his way into the top five then finished the first 30-lap Stage in sixth place, earning five Stage points.

In the second Stage, a 55-lapper, he ran in second or third place for much of the way, then made a pit stop from third place with 10 laps remaining in the Stage. Still, he drove his way back to ninth at the end of the Stage, earning two more points.

In the third and final segment of the race, he made his final pit stop with 38 laps remaining, taking two tires and fuel.

He rejoined the race and began working his way forward, gaining some spots through passes and others when drivers ahead of him made their last stops.

With 22 laps remaining, he was up to 15th place, and broke back into the top 10 six laps later. With four laps remaining, he took sixth place and held off William Byron and Clint Bowyer to claim his best Pocono finish in 12 career starts and his fourth top-10 finish of the season.

“We had great strategy from start to finish,” DiBenedetto said of the plans formulated by crew chief Greg Erwin. “We followed Greg’s plan and it worked out even better than we thought.”

DiBenedetto said he and Erwin figured that making a pit stop just before the end of the second Stage would set them up better for the finish but cost them some Stage points, but that wasn’t the case.

“We thought we’d be sacrificing Stage points, but we had a good pit stop and had a solid restart and grabbed a couple of points.”

DiBenedetto said his Motorcraft/Quick Lane Mustang was fast and his crew was on their game.

“We had a top-10 car all day long,” he said. “Everything was really smooth. Everybody executed well, and it was just a good, solid day.”

He said the weekend’s performance at Pocono has him and the team feeling upbeat as they head to Indianapolis Motor Speedway.

“We’ve known we can do this,” he said, adding that he, Erwin and the crew have been working on their communication and on being more consistent in their on-track performance. “I think this weekend was an example of what we’ve been working on and knowing that we’re capable of doing is addressing that and just having solid days like we did today being in the top 10 from the start to the finish of the day, getting stage points and finishing up there.

“We’ve done a good job at working on that and I think we can do a lot more of this moving forward.”

Next up for DiBenedetto and the No. 21 team is the Big Machine Vodka 400 at the Brickyard on July 5.

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About Motorcraft:

Motorcraft offers a complete line of replacement parts that are recommended by Ford Motor Company. From routine maintenance to underhood repairs, Motorcraft parts offer value with high quality and the right fit at competitive prices. Motorcraft parts are available nationwide at Ford and Lincoln Dealers, independent distributors and automotive parts retailers, and are backed by the Service Parts Limited Warranty of Ford Motor Company. For more information, visit www.motorcraft.com.

About Omnicraft:

Omnicraft is part of the Ford lineup of parts brands: Ford Parts, Motorcraft and Omnicraft. Omnicraft is the exclusive non-Ford/Lincoln parts brand of premium aftermarket parts. With over a century of parts heritage to build upon, Omnicraft provides excellent quality and fit and is a preferred choice of professional automotive technicians. To find out more about Omnicraft, visitwww.omnicraftautoparts.com or contact your local Ford or Lincoln Dealership.

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.

The views and opinions expressed in this article are those of the author and do not necessarily reflect the official policy or position of SpeedwayMedia.com.

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