Matt DiBenedetto hears the same things we all do. He’s fighting for his job with Leavine Family Racing right now. It’s August and he hasn’t heard anything on his situation with the organization for next season. Time is running out to make a deal to remain in the No. 95 Toyota for the 2020 Monster Energy NASCAR Cup Series season.
To me, that’s not fair. It shouldn’t even be a conversation. DiBenedetto deserves to return to LFR for 2020. He has proven he’s the right man for the seat. If this was all on merit, not money, there would be no question about his future.
He knows though that the more Erik Jones keeps this streak going, it’s all the more likely that Joe Gibbs Racing will extend him past this year. See, Jones is a free agent at seasons end. But, he and JGR would like to remain together. It’s getting late for that to work out too. If they do extend his contract, then that leaves the team needing somewhere to house Christopher Bell.
The noise is that if indeed this happens, Bell will end up with LFR which means if LFR doesn’t expand to a second car, then DiBenedetto is out. While it can be debated Bell is more talented than DiBenedetto, the fact of the matter is, we don’t honestly know that to be true. DiBenedetto, has never had the rides that Bell has had.
See, he’s always drove for underfunded teams and nothing against those teams, but he’s out driven his car each year. It started with BK Racing then went to GoFas Racing. Now, it’s with LFR who doesn’t have the full resources with Toyota/JGR that Furniture Row Racing once did.
So, the California native is doing this best to make this an even harder decision. Last Sunday, DiBenedetto brought the No. 95 entry home sixth to give Toyota four of the top six finishing positions in the Go Bowling at the Glen.
It was DiBenedetto’s fourth top eight finish in his last seven starts on the season. One of those was a fourth place run in Sonoma.
He’s earned his keep, the problem is, I don’t think his results will be the reason he has a future with the team or not.