Sunday, June 12, 2016

XFINITY: Matt DiBenedetto takes 2016 LASTCAR XFINITY lead with third-straight finish

SOURCE: Rubbin's Racin' Forums
Matt DiBenedetto picked up the 7th last-place finish of his NASCAR XFINITY Series career in Saturday’s Menards 250 Presented by Valvoline at the Michigan International Speedway when his unsponsored #10 TriStar Motorsports Toyota fell out with transmission issues after he completed 6 of 53 laps.

The finish, which came in DiBenedetto’s 56th series start, was his fifth of the season and his third in a row.  He now takes the lead in the 2016 LASTCAR XFINITY Series Championship over teammate Jeff Green, who finished 33rd in TriStar’s #14.

DiBenedetto once again ran double-duty between Cup and XFINITY between BK Racing and TriStar Motorsports.  His XFINITY weekend began on Friday, when he timed in a strong 23rd in the opening practice after just two laps, then sat out Happy Hour that afternoon.  With 40 drivers arrived to fill the 40-car field following the withdrawals of team cars for JGL Racing and Obaika Racing, DiBenedetto came up just one-tenth of a second short of advancing to Round 2 in qualifying, earning the 25th spot at 185.965 mph.

The 40th starting spot belonged to ARCA underdog Josh Williams, who just this April broke through with his first series victory at Nashville in his 81st start.  Williams, now 2nd in the ARCA standings, was rewarded with an invite from Jimmy Means Racing to bring back Means’ second entry, the #79 DB Sales Chevrolet.  As in years past, this was Joey Gase’s renumbered backup #52 Chevrolet and was there to “start-and-park” to help fund the team.  Still, it was Williams’ first XFINITY Series start and first race in NASCAR’s top three divisions since a 34th-place showing in the Martinsville Truck Series race in 2014.  In the end, Williams pulled his car in after 11 laps, leaving him 38th.

DiBenedetto pulled behind the wall after three laps and took the last spot.  Between Wiliams and DiBenedetto was Josh Wise, again in RSS Racing’s #93 Chevrolet which now has three 39th-place runs in 2016.  37th went to Scotsman driver John Jackson, back in the XFINITY Series for the first time since Talladega, who this time drove Carl Long’s #40 TLC Vacations Toyota.  Rounding out the Bottom Five was Morgan Shepherd, whose #89 Racing With Jesus / Courtney Construction Chevrolet has now made two straight races since his last DNQ at Charlotte.

*This was not only the first last-place finish for both DiBenedetto and the #10 in an XFINITY Series race at Michigan, but the first for TriStar Motorsports.

40) #10-Matt DiBenedetto / 3 laps / rear gear
39) #93-Josh Wise / 8 laps / rear gear
38) #79-Josh Williams / 11 laps / overheating
37) #40-John Jackson / 13 laps / clutch
36) #89-Morgan Shepherd / 16 laps / oil leak

1st) Matt DiBenedetto (5)
2nd) Jeff Green (4)
3rd) Josh Wise (2)
4th) Justin Marks, Ryan Preece (1)

1st) TriStar Motorsports (9)
2nd) RSS Racing (2)
3rd) Chip Ganassi Racing, JD Motorsports (1)

1st) Toyota (9)
2nd) Chevrolet (4)

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