Historic Weekend Ahead at Indianapolis

Matt DiBenedetto and the No. 21 Red Kap/Menards Mustang will be a part of an historic weekend at Indianapolis Motor Speedway as NASCAR’s Cup Series will run a double header with the NTT IndyCar Series.

DiBenedetto said he’s especially proud of this weekend’s paint scheme, which features a solid red color reminiscent of the Fords fielded by the Wood Brothers back in the 60s and carrying the logos of the workwear company Red Kap and Menards.

“I’m excited about having a cool new look on the car for a weekend as special as Indy,” DiBenedetto said. “We’re looking forward to showcasing Red Kap, and of course it’s an honor to represent the Menard family knowing how much Indianapolis Motor Speedway means to them.” 

John Menard is a long-time car owner and sponsor of cars competing in the Indianapolis 500, and his son Paul won NASCAR’s Brickyard 400 in 2011.

DiBenedetto said being a part of the Indy/NASCAR doubleheader will make an already memorable weekend extra special. DiBenedetto will be keeping a close eye on the Xfinity Series race on Indy’s road course, where the IndyCar Series also will run, since he’s the only driver to have run an Xfinity car on that course. He drove a Team Penske Mustang in a test back in January.

“The race weekend is going to be one to remember,” he said. “These are things that go down in history and even just racing at the Brickyard, every time you go in there is a check mark, a bucket list item in itself.” 

“I’ll be like a race fan, just watching these races as excited as any fan that you’ll see because it’s going to be so cool on such a history weekend, the July 4th Weekend, you name it. All of that is so cool.”

DiBenedetto and the Red Kap/Menards team head to Indy after a successful double header at Pocono Raceway, which shares many characteristics including the 2.5-mile length and relatively flat turns, with Indy.

At Pocono, DiBenedetto scored stage points in all four stages and finished 13th and 6th in the two races.

“If you asked me that a couple years ago when we ran the low downforce stuff, I would say the two tracks were completely different, but now that we have the high downforce and less horsepower, they’re actually pretty similar in the fact that it’s real strategy-oriented, extremely track position-oriented,” he said. “The high downforce just makes it so tough to pass…

“It just makes it really tough on the teams and the pit crews and the strategy because you just have to have track position or else you can’t make your way up there.”

He went on to say he and the No. 21 team are poised to be a consistent top-10 team, at Indy and every other stop on the circuit.

“We’re stepping in that direction,” he said. “To be honest, every single race track we’ve been to, aside from Darlington, we’ve had top-10 speed.”

“I’ve never had equipment or an opportunity like that much in the past, so that’s the encouraging part.”

“I knew once we got on track together, I think we can do this very consistently.”

Like recent races, there will be no practice or qualifying prior to Sunday’s Big Machine Hand Sanitizer 400 Powered By Big Machine Records, which is set to get the green flag just after 4 p.m. on Sunday with TV coverage on NBC.