Matt DiBenedetto

Getty Images

Kasey Kahne, Matt DiBenedetto marking Cup start milestones at Kansas

Leave a comment

Sunday’s NASCAR Cup Series race at Kansas Speedway will mark career milestones for Kasey Kahne and Matt DiBenedetto.

Kahne, who is in the final five races of his tenure driving the No. 5 for Hendrick Motorsports, will make his 500th Cup Series start.

DiBenedetto, driver of Go Fas Racing’s No. 32 Ford, will reach the century mark with his 100th Cup start.

The two join the ranks of drivers who have celebrated similar milestones this season.

Dale Earnhardt Jr. marked his 600th start at Auto Club Speedway. Kevin Harvick made his 600th start in the regular-season finale at Richmond Raceway and Kurt Busch made his in the Bristol night race.

Brad Keselowski won Sunday at Talladega Superspeedway in his 300th Cup start.

Kahne, 37,  made his first Cup start in the 2004 Daytona 500 for Evernham Motorsports. The 24-year-old driver won the Rookie of the Year that season, making him the youngest winner of the award at the time since Jeff Gordon earned it at the age of 22 in 1993.

Since then he has earned 18 wins, 92 top fives, 175 top 10s and 27 poles. He has yet to miss a race in his 14-year career in the Cup Series.

DiBenedetto, 26, made his first Cup start on March 15, 2015 in the CampingWorld.com 500 at Phoenix Raceway. The start, in the No. 83 Toyota for BK Racing, came after he failed to qualify for the previous two races at Atlanta and Las Vegas Motor Speedway.

In the two years since, DiBenedetto has earned three top 10s, including two this year in the Daytona 500 and Brickyard 400.

His career-best finish is sixth in the April 2016 race at Bristol.

Through 31 races this year, DiBenedetto has an average finish of 26.8, an improvement over his totals in 2015 (32nd) and 2016 (30th).

In five Kansas starts, DiBenedetto’s best result is 24th in the fall 2016 race. His average finish is 28.2.

“I really enjoy racing at Kansas Speedway,” DiBenedetto said in a press release. “Our mile-and-a-half program has been very strong this year and (Crew chief) Gene (Nead) has been giving me fast race cars to compete with. We qualified in the second-round here at Kansas earlier in the season, so that gives us a lot of hope.

“I like the racing at Kansas because you can move around a lot groove-wise and find a line that works with the balance of your race car. I’m usually one of the first people to move up into the high-groove and that seems to help find us some speed. If we can get a balance on the race car like we had in the spring, I know we’ll be fast and competitive.”

Matt DiBenedetto supporting police officers with Texas paint scheme

1 Comment

BK Racing and Dallas-based sponsor ZAK Products have team up to honor fallen officers of the Dallas Police Department for this weekend’s Sprint Cup race at Texas Motor Speedway.

For the AAA Texas 500, Matt DiBenedetto‘s No. 83 Zak “Backs the Blue” Toyota will resemble the cruisers used by the Dallas Police Department. The rear decklid will bear the names of the five DPD and Dallas Area Rapid Transit (DART) officers who were killed by a sniper in downtown Dallas on July 7.

“I am truly honored that Zak Products has given me the opportunity to represent the Dallas PD officers who lost their lives in the line of duty on July 7, 2016,” said DiBenedetto in a press release. “I have a tremendous amount of respect for all of the police officers around the country who protect our cities day and night. It means so much to BK Racing and to me personally to ‘Back the Blue’ with our No. 83 Toyota this weekend.”

The car was unveiled at a Toyota of Dallas on Wednesday that featured ZAK founder Vic Keller.

“Dallas is home to ZAK’s headquarters and we were deeply impacted by the July 7th tragedy. We wanted to do something to honor and show appreciation for the civil servants who serve the city without hesitation every day,” Keller said. “The November 6 race is the largest medium for a spectator event in DFW and we quickly realized this would provide the optimum platform to showcase the city of Dallas and our outstanding police department on a national scale. We hope everyone will tune in to the race and back the blue to victory.”

The AAA Texas 500 at Texas Motor Speedway can be seen at 1 p.m. on Sunday on NBC.

Chad Knaus, Matt DiBenedetto spend Sprint Cup off-weekend by saying ‘I Do’ with longtime girlfriends

Leave a comment

Many Sprint Cup drivers and crew chiefs enjoyed this off-weekend by vacationing or just taking it easy.

But not driver Matt DiBenedetto and Chad Knaus, crew chief for six-time champion Jimmie Johnson.

Instead of walking down pit road, DiBenedetto and Knaus each spent the weekend walking down the aisle.

DiBenedetto married Taylor Carswell on Friday, while Knaus tied the knot Saturday with former Miss Sprint Cup Brooke Werner.

Johnson tweeted this photo of Knaus’ wedding near Telluride, Colo.

And then there was DiBenedetto’s nuptials.

Of of DiBenedetto’s best friends, fellow driver Alex Bowman, good-naturedly threatened on Twitter to stand up during the ceremony when the pastor asked if anyone objected to the couple getting married.

Which prompted DiBenedetto to respond:

Well, Bowman passed 1,000 retweets, but there’s no report that he lived up to his threat.

Congratulations to the new Mr. and Mrs. Knaus and Mr. and Mrs. DiBenedetto.

NASCAR issues warnings to 11 Sprint Cup teams, docks Kyle Busch, Matt Kenseth practice time

14 Comments

NASCAR announced Wednesday night that Kyle Busch and Matt Kenseth each will be docked 15 minutes of practice time next week at Darlington Raceway for inspection issues at Bristol Motor Speedway. They were among 11 Sprint Cup teams issued warnings.

Warnings were given to:

  • Busch’s team for failing pre-race inspection four times.
  • Kenseth’s team for failing pre-race inspection two times plus being late to inspection.
  • The teams of Jeff Gordon, Joey Logano, Alex Bowman, Travis Kvapil and Timmy Hill for failing pre-qualifying inspection twice.
  • The teams of Landon Cassill, Matt DiBenedetto, Clint Bowyer and Denny Hamlin for being late to the inspection line.

NASCAR recently streamlined its warning structure. NASCAR’s Rule Book states that for every fourth warning a team receives in a season it will result in the loss of pit selection. Warnings can not be appealed.

The new system began earlier this month.

Previously receiving a warning under the new system were the teams Dale Earnhardt Jr., Paul Menard, Josh Wise, AJ Allmendinger and Brad Keselowski.

 

 

Here’s the intro songs NASCAR Sprint Cup drivers picked for Bristol

Leave a comment

Bristol Motor Speedway gives fans something different with how driver introductions are done. As part of the intros, drivers come out to music they’ve picked and introduce themselves.

JJ Yeley had the most fun, appearing in Elvis costume and his daughter dressed as an angel. She gave him an enthusiastic introduction.

Here’s the list of songs played for driver when they were introduced before tonight’s Irwin Tools Night Race.

Justin Allgaier … “Ready Set Roll’’ by Chase Rice

AJ Allmendinger … “Tainted Love” by Marilyn Manson

Aric Almirola … “I Can’t Drive 55” by Sammy Hagar

Michael Annett … “Bernie Lean” by Bernie Dance

Trevor Bayne … ‘’Back Where I Come From” by Kenny Chesney

Ryan Blaney … “Even Flow” by Pearl Jam

Mike Bliss … “Hells Bells” by AC/DC

Greg Biffle … “Wild Side” by Motley Crue

Alex Bowman … “Bring me the Horizon” by Throne

Clint Bowyer … “Honky Tonk Man” by Dwight Yoakam

Kurt Busch … “Party Up” by DMX

Kyle Busch … DJ Barry

Landon Cassill … “Smooth” by Santana

Matt DiBenedetto … “I Love Rock & Roll” by Joan Jett

Austin Dillon … “Move …” by Ludacris

Dale Earnhardt Jr. … “Walk This Way” by Aerosmith

Carl Edwards … “Juke Box Hero” by Foreigner

David Gilliland … “Kick Start my Heart” by Motley Crue

Jeff Gordon … “E.I” by Nelly

Denny Hamlin … “Heart Upon My Sleeve” by Avicii

Kevin Harvick … “Real Life” by Jake Owen

Timmy Hill … “Watch Me Nae Nae” by Silento

Sam Hornish Jr. … “Touch of Grey” by Grateful Dead

Jimmie Johnson … “Renegades” by X-Ambassadors

Kasey Kahne … “Cherry Bomb” by John Mellencamp

Matt Kenseth … “Strife” by Trivium

Brad Keselowski … “Drop It Like It’s Hot” by Snoop Dogg

Kyle Larson … “Saturday Night’s Alright” by Elton John

Joey Logano … “I’m Shipping Up To Boston” by Dropkick Murphys

Michael McDowell … “Nothing I Can’t Do’’ by Tedashii

Jamie McMurray …“Eminence Front” by The Who

Casey Mears … “Fuel” by Metallica

Paul Menard … “Symphony of Destruction’’ by Megadeath

Brett Moffitt … “Cowboy” by Kid Rock

Ryan Newman … “Good Ol’ Boys” by Waylon Jennings

Danica Patrick … “Hot Blooded” by Foreigner

David Ragan … “Only In America” by Brooks and Dunn

Ricky Stenhouse Jr. … “The Stroke” by Billy Squier

Tony Stewart … “Smoke On The Water” by Deep Purple

Martin Truex Jr. … “La Grange’’ by ZZ Top

Cole Whitt … “Armor for the Lord” by Blake Whiteley

Josh Wise … “Dixieland Delight” by Alabama

JJ Yeley … “Devil in Disguise” by Elvis Presley