Matt DiBenedetto and the No. 21 Motorcraft/Quick Lane team ended their 2020 campaign with a solid eighth-place finish in the Season Finale 500 at Phoenix Raceway. It’s the 11th top-10 of the season for DiBenedetto and the Motorcraft/Quick Lane team and their third in a row, including an eighth-place finish at Texas Motor Speedway and a 10th at Martinsville.
DiBenedetto’s finish on Sunday, coupled with his three Stage points earned on the day, allowed him to move up one spot in the final Cup Series standings to 13th, a career-best for him.
DiBenedetto started 12th in the 312-lap race but quickly drove into the top 10. He was running seventh when the caution flag flew at Lap 30 and was 10th at the end of the first Stage, earning one bonus point.
He continued to run in the top 10 and ended the second Stage in ninth place, picking up another two points, giving him 113 Stage points for the season.
Over the final Stage, DiBenedetto kept ahead of William Byron and Aric Almirola as the three battled for the 13th spot in points. He ended up two points ahead of Byron and 14 over Almirola.
“It was a really solid day,” DiBenedetto said. “The Motorcraft/Quick Lane Mustang was pretty strong. We made a couple of adjustments, tightened it up and stayed in the top 10 just about the whole race.
“We passed a lot of cars, some of them several times, and were able to snag a spot in points.”
DiBenedetto said he felt good about the way he and the No. 21 team finished their first season together.
“Three straight top-10s shows how strong this team is,” he said. “It was a good way to end the year.”
Eddie Wood also was encouraged by the late-season surge by the No. 21 team and by the season as a whole.
“Thanks to Ford Performance, Motorcraft and Quick Lane and Menards - and everyone else who backs us - for all their support,” he said. “And congratulations to Matt and [crew chief] Greg Erwin and the team for all their hard work in a year in which they had to learn each other while dealing with a pandemic.”
Wood also congratulated Chase Elliott on his Cup championship.
“Chase used to sit on our pit box when his Dad was driving our car,” Wood said. “Even at that young age he knew all about pit strategy and adjustments to his Dad’s car.
“I know his parents are proud of him, and we’re happy for them.”
DiBenedetto and the Wood Brothers team return to the track next February for the 2021 Daytona 500.