This season has undoubtedly been a wild ride for Matt DiBenedetto thus far. Despite having some of the best performances of his career, including his first two top-five finishes in the Monster Energy NASCAR Cup Series, DiBenedetto has found himself without a home at Levine Family Racing next season. This weekend, iK9 is giving the California-native another chance to prove himself at Road America.
DiBenedetto will be competing in the CTECH Manufacturing 180 behind the wheel of the JGR No. 18 iK9 Toyota Supra this weekend. He will be joined by teammate Brandon Jones, who finished 11th in the Food City 300 at Bristol Motor Speedway last weekend and will again drive the JGR No. 19 First Foundation Toyota Supra.
Last Saturday, DiBenedetto had a spectacular performance in the Bass Pro Shops NRA Night Race at Bristol. DiBenedetto led a race-high 93 laps and ultimately finished in a career-high 2nd place. This weekend, he plans to finish even stronger.
The Xfinity race will serve as a reunion for DiBenedetto with Joe Gibbs Racing, which first introduced the driver to the NASCAR world as a development driver in 2009. It will also be the first time DiBenedetto has raced at Elkhart Lake since 2014, where he finished 11th in the same event.
Last week, DiBenedetto publicly expressed his hopes to find a new permanent team for next season, telling NASCAR.com, “I don’t want to retire yet. I’m only 28 years old, just getting started. I’m here to keep climbing the ladder, not go backward.”
With iK9 and Xtreme Concepts Racing backing him at “America’s National Park of Speed” this weekend, it will serve as a perfect opportunity for DiBenedetto to prove his worth to any spectating team owners.
The chances of competing in 2020 are presently uncertain, yet one thing is crystal clear: winning at Road America this weekend only helps DiBenedetto’s odds. Both iK9 and XCR are dedicated to doing everything possible to help make that happen and are thrilled to have DiBenedetto representing them in the weekend’s big race.
“Road America is probably my favorite race track ever,” DiBenedetto said. “I’m excited to have iK9 backing me in the No. 18 Supra. That car has been flying around all over this season so it’s going to be cool to be behind the wheel of a really fast racecar. I’m looking forward to racing at one of my favorite tracks in the world and I’m going to try to put her in victory lane.”
With a solid sponsor behind a determined driver, this formula might just equal success for both parties. And of course, DiBenedetto will have plenty of NASCAR fans across the nation on his side, rooting for the widely respected driver to get a much-needed win.
The CTECH Manufacturing 180 will air live on NBC Sports at 2:00 PM CT on August 24.
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