Matt DiBenedetto and the No. 21 Menards/Quaker State team capitalized on some mid-race adjustments to earn a 13th-place finish in Sunday’s Auto Club 400 at Auto Club Speedway. DiBenedetto picked up six positions on the final green-flag run of the race and moved up to eighth place in the Cup Series standings.
DiBenedetto started the 400-miler at the Fontana, Calif., track from the 12th position and immediately jumped into the top five and remained there throughout most of the opening Stage. He ended that segment in eighth place, earning three bonus points.
In Stage Two, his Menards Mustang wasn’t quite as fast as before, becoming increasingly loose as the green-flag runs went on, but he still ran in the top 15 for most of that 60-lap segment before winding up 16th.
Realizing the No. 21 Ford needed to be tighter, the Menards team made significant adjustments on the ensuing pit stop, and he rejoined the race in 19th place.
DiBenedetto ran around 19th in the initial portion the final segment, but his Mustang got progressively better and he drove his way to 13th at the finish. That allowed him to gain two positions in the Cup Series standings.
“It was a good run for us,” Eddie Wood said. “The car got loose as the race went on, but they kept adjusting on it, got it tightened up and Matt was able to make up some spots at the end.”
DiBenedetto and the Wood Brothers team now head to Phoenix Raceway for next Sunday’s Fan Shield 500.