Matt DiBenedetto provided some emotion for his family and BK Racing when he finished sixth Sunday in the Food City 500. The result by the No. 83 team was just the second top-10 finish for BK Racing ever. The first came in 2012 at Talladega Superspeedway with Travis Kvapil.
Just ahead of DiBenedetto in fifth was Trevor Bayne.
A top-five finish shouldn’t be a big deal for a Daytona 500 winner. But it is when you haven’t finished in the top five since said Daytona 500, which was five years and 101 starts ago.
“We went through a lot of adversity to get there, but we just didn’t give up,” Bayne said. “That’s what paid off. You can’t come back if you don’t have good race cars and we’ve got that now. I need to minimize my mistakes going forward, but we were able to make mistakes and get back to a top-five finish.”
For a brief stretch late in the race all three Roush Fenway Racing cars were running in the top 10. Had they all stayed there, it would have been Roush’s first race with all three cars finishing in the top 10 since the August Bristol race in 2014.
For about 20 laps on Sunday, Landon Cassill turned the world on its head. After a caution that started on Lap 260, Cassill’s Front Row Motorsports team decided to keep his No. 38 Ford out on the track.
Cassill hadn’t led laps since leading one circuit in the fall Talladega race in 2014.
Cassill kept the lead on the restart and then held off eventual race winner Carl Edwards for 20 laps around Bristol before finally giving way on Lap 281. He would stay in or near the top 10 until an incident with Ty Dillon forced him to pit for repairs.
“I kind of thought I might have a chance of leading that many laps. I wasn’t really sure,” Cassill told The Gazette of Cedar Rapids, Iowa, after finishing 22nd. “I guess I didn’t expect to run in the top four like that for the entire run. But our car was strong at that point. Really, everybody’s car in the entire field was the same speed, it was just that track position was so important.”
Cassill improved one spot in the point standings to 27th.
After never finishing better than 18th, Bowyer managed to put his No. 15 Chevrolet in eighth Sunday, earning the team just its second top-10 finish ever.
Bowyer started 36th and never appeared in the top 15 until after Lap 450. He then navigated into eighth during the final five-lap shootout.