Matt DiBenedetto and the Wood Brothers Racing team are headed in a better direction thanks to recent strong outings.
DiBenedetto turned in his first top 10 of the season two weeks ago at Richmond Raceway in the Toyota Owners 400. He followed that with a fifth-place performance in last Sunday’s GEICO 500 at Talladega Superspeedway, a race he led on the final lap before getting passed by eventual winner Brad Keselowski.
But rather than lament over what might have been, DiBenedetto is looking at the experience pragmatically and hoping to learn from what happened.
“Stuff happens in a split-second, and it’s really easy for people to just watch and be like, ‘Oh, why didn’t you pick this lane?,’ ” he said. “And I just wanted to do it more so not in a negative way, I wanted to do it in an encouraging way and just to give an understanding of how fast the stuff happens, how hard these superspeedways are and how much it’s a chess game and how much we study for these things, how perfect you have to be and how much also, on top of all that, is based on what happens with guys around you and behind you.
“So, I hope I gave people an understanding of how tough it is. It’s like watching an NFL game and being like, ‘Oh, man. That quarterback, why didn’t you throw it to this guy instead of this one there,’ when they’ve got 300-pound guys running at him and the stuff happens in three seconds.”
DiBenedetto has a positive feeling after his last two outings heading into Sunday’s 11th race of the season at Kansas Speedway (3 p.m. ET, FS1, MRN, SiriusXM). He believes there is an opportunity to keep things rolling for a third consecutive race and climb his way back up the NASCAR Cup Series point standings.
“We have some good momentum as everybody has seen, so that’s encouraging,” he explained. “At the start of the season we had a lot of things out of our control that happened. There’s nothing we could do about that, and now we’re kind of on a roll and showing the strength that we do have as a team, that we’ve known that we had, so that’s awesome. It’s super encouraging.
“I’m feeling good about it. Obviously, we had a shot to win at Talladega, which is great, and a top 10 the week before, so a top 10 and a top five and going on to Kansas we have Menards and Dickies on our Mustang this week, so the car looks good — nice and bright — and our mile-and-a-half program is really strong.”