Sprint Cup racer Matt DiBenedetto drives for the smaller BK Racing team, which isn’t as competitive and has nowhere near the budget of the NASCAR teams we talk about the most. Finishes in the high-twenties and mid-thirties are more what he’s used to. Scoring a sixth-place finish at Bristol moved him to tears.
This unheard-of result at yesterday’s Food City 500 was a career-high finish for DiBenedetto, and to have his family at the track to see it had to have been the best thing ever.
DiBenedetto took advantage of a free pass for the highest-scored lapped car on lap 345 to get back on the lead lap, and then drove smart through the next three cautions to stay there.
Bristol Motor Speedway is known for carnage, so there were plenty of yellow flag periods for DiBenedetto to manage. He was 14th on the next restart, then 10th on the next, and 8th on the last restart that lasted until the finish. His restart positions put him in the optimal top lane for making the most of older tires. On the last five-lap final charge to the green flag, DiBenedetto passed 2014 Sprint Cup champion Kevin Harvick to take sixth place.
Food City 500 race winner Carl Edwards even acknowledged the difficulty of this feat in that car when speaking with NASCAR:
They finished sixth? Man that’s unbelievable. That’s probably tougher than what we did.
Now, if you’ll excuse me, someone is cutting onions in my apartment and I need to punch them in the face. (Psst, got a tissue?)