Go Fas Racing driver Matt DiBenedetto was a recent guest of the NASCAR on NBC podcast, offering why he believes he can become a fan favorite like friend Dale Earnhardt Jr.
“I think I’ve had to go about my whole racing career on such a difficult path and the old school way, it makes me appreciate it way more,” DiBenedetto said on the podcast. “The fans have been a big part of me getting here and getting sponsors and embracing my story. I do appreciate them way more.
“It’s not that hard to just have fun with them. Not knocking anybody, but I look up to someone like Dale Jr. because he’s just genuine, he’s himself. That’s all you really need to do, you don’t need to act like someone different. Just be your normal old self. They’re just people. You don’t need to act like a huge celebrity and just fly by them. All I do is have fun with them, be different, take videos with them. They love that stuff.”
The Grass Valley, California, native is among the more creative and proactive drivers on social media across multiple platforms, including Earnhardt in some of his Snaps.
DiBenedetto believes his savvy will set him apart with more success.
“That’s why I have that vision that I know I can be a fan favorite,” he said. “I’m not going to fill Dale Jr.’s shoes. But I feel like if I’m in a position to win races, and we have that kind of media attention, I feel like I can darn near take over the world because it’s all about being different, and I’m different than other people.”
Earnhardt often jokes with DiBenedetto about the pronunciation of his last name (and had fun with it on his team radio last year, leading to a SiriusXM Satellite Radio clip that DiBenedetto reacts to during the podcast). But the Hendrick Motorsports driver also has been an asset, promoting DiBenedetto as among NASCAR’s most underrated drivers.
“I’ll mess with (Earnhardt), ‘Hey since you think so much of me, go ahead and put me in the 88,’” DiBenedetto joked. “Tony Stewart also has helped me and given me advice. It’s cool to have all these people on your side, so if you need to lean on them for advice or favors or help, that’s not going to hurt in the long run in my career.”
In the podcast, DiBenedetto also discusses:
–His underfunded team’s top 10s in the Daytona 500 and Brickyard 400;
–The gamble by his family to relocate to Hickory, North Carolina, to give him a shot at a racing career;
–What life is like on the road for one of the only full-time Cup drivers without a motorhome.
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