DiBenedetto Readies for Richmond

Matt DiBenedetto

No. 95 Toyota Camry Notes:

·       MATT DIBENEDETTO BY THE NUMBERS: In eight Monster Energy NASCAR Cup Series career starts at Richmond, DiBenedetto has an average start of 30.2 and an average finish of 31.1 and he’s completed 3,128 of 3,213 (97.4 percent) career laps at the 0.75-mile Virginia track.

·       TOYOTA OWNER-DRIVER CHALLENGE: The first Toyota Owner-Driver Challenge will kick off this weekend at Richmond Raceway on April 13th, 2019 during the Toyota Owners 400.  This experience highlights five loyal, Richmond-area Toyota Owners and will pair them each up with a random Toyota driver in the Cup series for a chance to win $10,000. 

·       CELEBRATING TOYOTA OWNERS: This weekend Toyota celebrates it’s seventh-consecutive year of partnering with Richmond Raceway and serving as the entitlement sponsor of both the MENCS Toyota Owners 400 and NXS ToyotaCare 250.  The weekend has become synonymous with celebrating and thanking loyal Toyota owners.  As part of their weekend, Toyota will have several fan activations and special opportunities for Toyota owners including the Toyota Racing Experience, Toyota Owners Hub, Toyota Thrill Ride, Toyota Owners Parking, Toyota Owners Express Lanes and a Toyota Green Space.

·       RACE INFO: The Toyota Owners 400 at Richmond Raceway (0.75-mile) begins at 7:30 p.m. ET on Saturday, April 13th. The race will be broadcast live on FOX, Sirius XM Channel 90 and MRN Radio.

DiBenedetto’s Career Monster Energy NASCAR Cup Series Stats at Richmond:

Date                Event:                                     S          F         Laps                Status

04/26/15          Toyota Owners 400                37        37        394/400            Running

09/12/15          Federated Auto Parts 400      33        36        390/400            Running

04/24/16          Toyota Owners 400                36        30        399/400            Running

09/10/16          Federated Auto Parts 400      25        37        352/407            Crash

04/30/17          Toyota Owners 400                32        28        400/400            Running

09/09/17          Federated Auto Parts 400      25        31        400/404            Running

04/21/18          Toyota Owners 400                27        16        402/402            Running

09/22/18          Federated Auto Parts 400      27        34        391/400            Running

                        Races     Wins     Top 5s    Top 10s       Poles

Cumulative         8            0              0               0                0

DiBenedetto’s 2019 Monster Energy NASCAR Cup Series Season Stats:

Starts         Wins        Top-5’s     Top-10’s         Poles        Laps Led        Avg. Start       Avg. Finish

    8                0                 0                 0                  0                  49                   21.5                 22.4

DiBenedetto’s Career Monster Energy NASCAR Cup Series Stats:

Starts         Wins        Top-5’s     Top-10’s         Poles        Laps Led        Avg. Start       Avg. Finish

148                0                 0                 4                  0                  72                  30.6                      28.6

From the Driver’s Seat:

Matt DiBenedetto: “Looking ahead to this weekend, we definitely seem to be the strongest on the short tracks so far this year.  It’s become our strong suit, so we look ahead to this weekend at Richmond with pretty high expectations.  I’m also very partial going to short tracks and road courses, so going into Richmond, I always look forward to it a little more than other tracks on the schedule.  It’s also an incredibly important weekend for Toyota with them having the naming rights for both events, as well as our No. 95 Camry featuring a special Toyota Owners scheme.  The challenge of racing at Richmond is actually all the stuff that I like because it brings me back to my old short track racing background days.  Having to manage your tires, and so many other old school qualities that I enjoy, come into play when we race at Richmond.  Making sure that you don’t slip and abuse old tires is a focus, as well as knowing what you need at a short track to be good in the long run, are things that we focus on.  There’s still going to be a lot to learn this weekend, just like every race we’ve had so far this year.  One of the things that we keep working on is where to position yourself when you’re around other cars properly because of the high downforce, so even though it’s still a short track, it changes the racing a lot.  Phoenix is the track that we’ll look at our notes from because some of the car build details for Phoenix and Richmond are very similar in regard to what makes a car run fast at both of those tracks.”

From the Pit Box:

Mike Wheeler: “I would say that what we learned at Phoenix and Martinsville this year will apply a bit, as far as the offsets from last year to this year, at Richmond.  Richmond is obviously considered a short track, and is its own little unique entity, but a lot of the stuff that we experienced at Phoenix I think we’ll experience this weekend at Richmond.  We’re going to have a different tire this year going back to Richmond, which is its own characteristic that we’ll need to work around on top of the aero package.  Richmond is a short track like Phoenix, because it has some of the same characteristics that we’ll need to focus on where it’s hard to pass, you work on center turn, and the need to work on exit along with forward drive.  This weekend though I still feel that we’ll have a lot of the same Richmond characteristics that we’ve had there in the past.  Tires do matter there, and you always want to turn better in the center, and have more forward drive.  I think some of the forward drive stuff might be different due to the fact that there is more downforce.  Similar to what we saw at Martinsville, it became more of a cornering track than a straightaway track.  I’m curious to see if the track will widen out this weekend.  In the past, Richmond has been one or two lanes, and in daytime, we’ve seen it widen out all the way to the wall.  It seems like this year, guys have been moving around more to get out of the dirty air, so I could see the track widening out more than ever and that can make for some neat racing.  Hopefully with our success on the short tracks this year, as far as being better than we have been at other tracks, we can get Matt (DiBenedetto) comfortable and race well.”

No. 95 Toyota Camry Team:

Driver: Matt DiBenedetto                   Crew Chief: Mike Wheeler

Car Chief: Greg Emmer                     Spotter: Doug Campbell

Engineer: J.R. Houston                     Engineer: Etienne Cliche

Mechanic: Bill Mares                         Mechanic: Matt Kimball

Shock Specialist: Tim Lambert        Mechanic: Ryan Dextraze

Tire Specialist: Tony Ramirez          Jackman: Bailey Walker

Fueler: Ryan Dextraze                      Rear Changer: Deven Youker

Front Changer: Adam Hartman        Tire Carrier: Chris Hall

Hauler Driver: Damon Lopez


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