26 Days 'Til Daytona - Today's Featured Driver: Matt DiBenedetto

In case you missed it, StatChat is counting down the days ‘til the 2021 Daytona 500.  Every two days, we will have a new article featuring one of the Top 30 Drivers of 2020. 


13th Place –Matt DiBenedetto – 2249 pts


By the Numbers:


14.75 Average Finish – Fan favorite Matt DiBenedetto put together his best average finish of his career in 2020.  DiBenedetto’s first year with Wood Brothers Racing was 3.56 spots better than his 2nd best year, 2019.  In fact, his average finish has gotten better in every one of his six seasons as a Cup Series driver.  Can he break through and get his first career win in 2021?


11 Top 10s – Eclipsing his 7 Top 10s in 2019, Matt DiBenedetto earned 11 in 2020. Not only was it a career high, but it also matched the number of Top 10s he’d scored in the previous 5 seasons, bringing his career total up to 22. 


1 DNF in 2020 – With his only DNF (Did Not Finish) coming at the first Kansas race in July, Matt DiBenedetto did a great job of keeping his car clean – he completed 98.5% of all laps (4th best of all drivers).  Including that 36th place finish, there were only three times all season where Matt finished below the Top 25.


-38 Pass Differential – Despite a career year, there is room for improvement for Matt DiBenedetto.  A -38 Pass Differential (meaning Matt was passed 38 more times than he passed other drivers) isn’t all that bad, considering that works out to just over -1 pass per race.  There were many others with much worse Pass Differentials.  But when eventual Cup Champ Chase Elliott has a +307, or 2nd place driver Brad Keselowski finished with +224, DiBenedetto will have to be better in that department if he’d like to compete for a championship himself.


103 Fastest Laps – Something that makes Matt DiBenedetto’s 13th place finish in 2020 a bit more impressive is how he managed to do it without one of the fastest cars in the field.  Of the 9,914 laps run in 2020, DiBenedetto was the fastest on the track for only 103, or about 1% of them.  Seven drivers who finished below him in the standings had a higher number of Fastest Laps. 


There was speculation that Wood Brothers Racing was going to be making room for up-and-comer Austin Cindric, and that DiBenedetto would be moving on at the end of 2020.  However, it was announced in October that DiBenedetto would stay on for one final year in their No. 21 Ford, and that Cindric would stay in the Xfinity Series before taking it over in 2022.


Coming up in two days – Clint Bowyer


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