By Lisa Janine Cloud
|Credit: Lisa Janine Cloud/Skirts and Scuffs|
Just behind them, in sixth place, Matt DiBenedetto earned the first top-10 finish of his brief career in the No. 83 BK Racing Camry. The 24-year-old from Grass Valley, CA has only made 41 Sprint Cup starts, all for BK Racing, a team that debuted in the 2012 Daytona 500.
DiBenedetto started 30th and took his time working his way up through the field. When a caution came out with 40 laps to go, he moved into the top 15 and eventually up to sixth.
On pit road after the race, DiBenedetto was understandably emotional when being interviewed by FOX.
“I’m sorry, I’m so speechless,” he said, tears filling his eyes. “Just I’m so thankful to everybody on this team, everybody at BK Racing, Cosmo Motors in Hickory, North Carolina – they’re local to me, he’s my best friend, sells some awesome cars, please check them out – everyone at BK Racing, Dustless Blasting.”
Cosmo Motors is, indeed, a car dealership. It's not a Fortune 500 company, but a local business who invested in a friend’s dream.
“These guys, man – that’s unbelievable for a team like to us to be growing this much and for us to get a sixth-place run – I’m sorry I’m so emotional, it’s just this is like a win for us. I am so excited. I see my family back here – my wife, Taylor, my brother is in town from the military and I’m so glad he got to experience this. This is just – this is incredible. I’m so blessed to be here.”
Twitter lit up with praise for the successful run. Team owner Ron Devine and crew chief Gene Nead were interviewed by SiriusXM Radio and PRN–unfamiliar territory for the two-car team. They’re more used to the kind of finish teammate David Ragan had, as engine problems led to a trip to the garage and a 39th-place finish.
DiBenedetto’s previous best finish this season was 20th at Phoenix. After crashing and finishing 40th in the Daytona 500, he’s wound up outside the top 25 everywhere else, making sixth place seem like a victory.
“A sixth-place finish for BK Racing and for all my guys, this is like a win for us,” he said. “ I apologize for being so emotional, but this is an incredible run. I can’t thank my team enough, my crew chief Gene Nead, and everyone on this team for working so hard and busting their tails for me to be able to drive this race car in the Sprint Cup Series. This is such an honor and I’m so thankful to all the sponsors – Dustless Blasting, Cosmo Motors, Dr Pepper, and I know I’m forgetting people. Thank you to the fans most importantly – they are so great and so supportive. I’m just really thankful to be here, this was a great day.”