BRISTOL, Tenn – Matt DiBenedetto won’t be returning to his ride at Leavine Family Racing next season. The California native announced that on Thursday. The 26 year old driver is a free agent once again as if he can land on his feet somewhere next year, it will have been his third different organization in as many years.
It’s not like he’s a bad driver either. In fact, it’s quite the opposite. DiBenedetto, has proven time and time again that he’s deserving of a top ride in NASCAR. He’s done a lot with a little and has even put LFR on the map in 2019.
Unfortunately, politics took him out of a ride for next season as the organization is going to align more with Joe Gibbs Racing and likely take Christopher Bell over DiBenedetto. Despite two top six finishes in his last four starts on the season and a top eight finish in half of his last eight races in his No. 95 Toyota, he’s out of the picture.
So, it’s time for DiBenedetto to put on an audition for the rest of the NASCAR garage to show that he belongs here. He has the talent to drive for one of the top teams but not the funding.
Go out and win Saturday night’s Bass Pro Shops NRA Night Race (7:30 p.m. ET/NBCSN/PRN/SiriusXM NASCAR Radio) and you will get noticed. The thing is, DiBenedetto is showing that he can.
He finished sixth with BK Racing in the spring Bristol race in 2016. He was sixth two weeks ago in Watkins Glen, fifth four weeks ago in New Hampshire. The car is fast.
He was fourth and first respectively in practice on Friday and second and third respectively on the 10 lap average chart too from Thunder Valley. The speed is in his car as much as anyone’s heading into Saturday night’s race.
If he can win, he’d earn a guaranteed playoff spot. To win at Bristol in a marquee event like this one, I think would be the ultimate resume builder to have one of the top teams meet him in victory lane and give him an offer for 2020.
LFR has never won before. They’ve never run this close to the front before. If DiBenedetto can grant them a win in one of the biggest races of the year for NASCAR, he’d earn a second look.