Team Preview: Go Fas Racing
By: John Singler on February 2, 2017 | 2:15 P.M. EST
"We're putting ourselves in a position to over-achieve with some new cars, and good people dedicated to turning this program around and running competitively." (Photo: Getty Images)
With a new team affiliation and a large fleet of newer cars being prepared by Go Fas Racing, Matt DiBenedetto is eager to tackle the 2017 Monster Energy NASCAR Cup Series.
The 25-year-old Californian has departed BK Racing after a two-year stint to join GFR, which will run the full 36-race schedule with its No. 32 Ford.
"I got a little backlash for my move from BK Racing, but I also got a lot of support," said DiBenedetto, whose best finish in 35 Cup Series starts last year was sixth in the spring race at Bristol. "We're putting ourselves in a position to over-achieve with some new cars, and good people dedicated to turning this program around and running competitively."
Seven different drivers wheeled the No. 32 entry last season with Jeffrey Earnhardt running the majority of events. The team finished 38th in the owner standings, which leaves DiBenedetto & Co. a lot of room for improvement.
"I wouldn't have done this if I didn't feel that it was absolutely a step forward," said DiBenedetto, who'll have familiar voices in his earpiece during the upcoming campaign. Both crew chief Gene Nead and spotter David Pepper also made the move to Go Fas Racing and remain with DiBenedetto. Nead brings more than 20 years of experience across NASCAR's three top national series.
"It'll be fun to see what we can make of it," DiBenedetto said. "I am so fortunate to have Gene with me. He's made me into a better all-around driver, and his experience has taught me so much in the past year and a half. We have a great relationship. He'll make a big difference in our program. I know we're going to be a lot more competitive than some folks would think."
And what of that new fleet of cars? The team purchased six Fords from Richard Petty Motorsports during the off-season, and has the superspeedway entry shined up and ready to roll into Speedweeks at Daytona International Speedway later this month.
DiBenedetto gives team owner Archie St. Hilaire tons of credit for making a commitment to improved performance in 2017.
"What he says, he means. You can take it to the bank," DiBenedetto said. "He's totally dedicated to running competitively, and that's what enticed us to come in here and build a game plan. I've never had a ride come together this fast in my life."
From St. Hilaire's perspective, the feelings of optimism heading into a new season are mutual.
"We couldn't be happier to have Matt joining us," he said. "This will be our first season in the Cup Series with one driver running the complete schedule. Matt's ability and a fleet of newer race equipment purchased this off-season will elevate our program to new levels."
Sponsorship of the No. 32 Ford will come from a group that includes Can-Am/Kappa, Keen Parts, Visone RV and Really Cheap Floors. And DiBenedetto believes that in its underdog role, Go Fas Racing will confidently go about doing more with less as the 2017 season unfolds.
"It's a lot different for us versus some of the bigger teams, who have 400 employees or something like that," he said. "We have roughly 15. We'll use the first couple races as a test to see where we are and we're gonna have things to figure out where other teams might be a few steps ahead of us. But we'll do a good job working together and doing it the old-fashioned way. When you go into a season having a working relationship with some of the guys already in place, you go in with confidence and that makes a huge difference."
Daytona International Speedway will open for NASCAR teams on Friday, Feb. 17, with the season-opening Daytona 500 scheduled for Sunday, Feb. 26. Motor Racing Network - "The Voice of NASCAR" will have live coverage of "The Great American Race" beginning at 1 p.m. (ET), with live streaming at MRN.com and on the MRN App.
Up Next: Motor Racing Network will preview Leavine Family Racing on Friday, Feb. 3.