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Faith, Family & Fast Cars: Matt DiBenedetto on What Drives His Career

Matt DiBenedetto is pushed by many good influences in NASCAR career.

The 32-year-old from Grass Valley, Calif., ran consistently well in the NASCAR Cup Series for teams such as BK Racing, Go Fas Racing, Leavine Family Racing and the iconic Wood Brothers Racing, making the playoffs once and competing for wins in the No. 21 Ford.

Although a demotion to the NASCAR Craftsman Truck Series with Rackley W.A.R. followed in 2022, DiBenedetto showed speed with the upstart team. He won last year’s Truck race at Talladega Superspeedway and then earned the team its first playoff berth with the eight seed in 2023.

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However, shortly after the playoffs began DiBenedetto announced he was leaving the team at the end of the year. Then soon after the No. 25 truck was eliminated from the playoffs, Rackley released DiBenedetto with three races left in the season.

Though his plans for 2024 remain unknown and DiBenedetto is now no longer driving for the No. 25, Frontstretch’s Wyatt Watson sat down with DiBenedetto at Kansas Speedway in early September to discuss what his future holds and what important influences benefit him in his racing career.

Wyatt Watson, Frontstretch: It was announced by you this week that you’ll be leaving the team. Have you been in contact with any other teams, especially with teams like Kaulig Racing who are looking for drivers to fill their roles next year?

Matt DiBenedetto: Yeah, I’ve been exploring all options. I don’t have anything nailed down or locked down yet, but I’m just appreciative for our team and so proud of the growth and everything here. I know it will all work out, just exploring all the opportunities and seeing where God leads me next.

I just want to go win tonight [laughs], and my focus is just on this year and finishing this year out strong because we are in the playoffs.

But as far as next year, [I’m] not totally sure, but [I’m] just looking to build those partnerships and continue to grow that. I’ll see where I land next year, but I have nothing other than gratitude for this team and all my time here, and they’re going to be lifelong friends.

Watson: What part does your family play into your racing career? How important is it for your wife, your dog on social media [laughs] and of course your fans and your community through your Christianity — how does that play a role into your racing career?

DiBenedetto:  I’ve had a real interesting last couple of years, and I’m super thankful for it. I’ve had kind of a lot of my life flipped upside down and a lot of my priorities shifted around, had a lot of healing and a lot of renewing in my mind. And God’s been very good to me. I’m thankful for where I’m at.

I’ve definitely been humbled. But as far as racing, I feel more focused than I’ve ever been now. And when your priorities change — my whole life has always been immersed in racing and racing first, above all else — I had to rearrange my priorities in life. God first, my marriage, but the important things first and racing falling where it belongs in the priority list.

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But it’s actually a blessing because when you do it, for me, when I kind of got my life and this priority in order, it actually allows you to enjoy racing more and enjoy what you do more and also treat it like a job and be very analytical about it, have more focus, have less stress through it and treat it like what it is. When your whole life is solely immersed in it, it can take you on much more of a roller-coaster ride that’s not healthy for your life, and you can have your priorities out of order.

So, what I’m getting at is I have more passion and more love and more appreciation for the sport that’s allowed me to do this than I ever had, but with it being prioritized in a proper life work.

Watson: Finally, for this weekend, you unveiled the new scheme, and on the back, you’re sponsored by Hoonigan. What does that mean to you carrying that sponsor and the legacy Ken Block laid behind in that brand?

DiBenedetto: It’s so cool to be able to pay tribute to Ken Block. Man, he’s a legend, and it’s so neat. Amazing opportunity to have Kansasland Tire and Service that helped to put this all together.

… So, from a personal standpoint, it’s super cool, and then also tying in that Hoonigan brand and the tribute to Ken Block and all, for me just as being a race fan here for a minute, it’s so insanely cool. Because I’ve watched everything Ken Block, and so it’s neat to see a cool, fresh, new look on that truck.

Since the interview, DiBenedetto was released from the No. 25 team prior to the anniversary of the pair’s win at Talladega. DiBenedetto announced via social media that details on an announcement are coming soon for the free agent driver and the performance car enthusiast.

About the author

Screenshot 20220207 211834 Instagram

Wyatt Watson has followed NASCAR closely since 2007. He joined Frontstretchas a journalist in February 2023 after serving in the United States Navy for five years as an Electronic Technician Navigation working on submarines. Wyatt writes breaking NASCAR news and contributes to columns such as Friday Faceoff and 2-Headed Monster. Wyatt also contributes to Frontstretch's social media and serves as an at-track reporter, collecting exclusive content for Frontstretch.

Wyatt Watson can be found on Twitter @WyattGametime

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gbvette

Welcome to Frontstretch’s weekly DiBenedetto update! For a driver who’s only claim to fame in over a decade in NASCAR is one truck win, this guy sure gets a lot of press coverage at Frontstretch. For as much as he gets promoted here, you’d think here was racing for his 10th championship, instead of looking for a ride once again. I don’t have anything against him, he’s a serviceable driver, I just can’t understand all the time this website spends covering him.

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