Speedway Digest Staff
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It’s one of the questions that seems to come up every weekend as many Ford drivers make their way through various hospitality spots or question and answer sessions with NASCAR fans: What do you drive when you’re not racing?” As you might imagine, the answers run the gamut. But for Matt DiBenedetto, who is in his first year driving the No. 21 Motorcraft Ford for the Wood Brothers, there’s only one -- Mustang.
“When I found out I had a choice of any vehicle this year it was an easy decision for me,” said DiBenedetto, who, along with his wife, Taylor, selected a 2020 Velocity Blue Mustang GT. “I love the new Mustang and since we don’t have kids it’s the kind of car that’s fun to drive, especially going back and forth to the race shop. That’s why I chose it.”
However, when you’re a self-professed car nut who likes to tinker and modify whatever you drive, choosing it is just the beginning.
“I like to modify my street cars and make them unique to me. This is my fourth Mustang and it’s a six-speed manual, so I couldn’t resist,” said DiBenedetto, who has a second-place finish at Las Vegas and sits ninth in the NASCAR Cup Series point standings after four races this season. “I put an aftermarket exhaust system on it, so it’s not very quiet. I don’t know if I was supposed to do that because it’s a company car, but I plan to buy it at the end of the year anyway, so I just went ahead and did it.”
DiBenedetto calls this need for modification a bad habit, but if that’s the case, he has plenty of good company. It all started when he was 15 years old and got a 2006 Mustang with a GT66 package for his first car -- a six-cylinder with black and silver stripes. A couple of years later, it was a used 2006 Saleen S-281 Mustang that he modified with some exhaust work, smaller pulley, and dyno tuning.
“Nothing too crazy,” he said.
More recently, he had a 2017 Mustang GT350 that he altered by putting on headers, a full exhaust and short shifter.
“I’ve always known the ins and outs of my Mustangs and my passion has been modifying them,” said DiBenedetto, who also gets assistance from professionals like Anthony Ballard, whom he met at a car show and has now become a good friend. “We became friends just because of the strict fact he likes modifying Mustangs and I like modifying Mustangs, but we met through the car culture.
“All he does is build and tune Mustangs and does really super-cool cars,” DiBenedetto said of Ballard, who owns Signature Speed in Granite Falls, North Carolina. “His cars make crazy horsepower. He’s got a full-blown drag car that is a 2013 Mustang and he just has all kinds of fast stuff.”
And while many enthusiasts like to work on their Mustangs and hold on to them forever, DiBenedetto prefers to get on the road and drive them for the enjoyment of it before putting the ‘For Sale’ sign in the window.
“The winding roads are the most fun, especially when you’re driving a car that you have a passion for,” he said. “I look forward to the trip up to Bristol because it’s not too far from Hickory, so going up Highway 181 is a fun drive.”
DiBenedetto’s love for Mustang comes straight from his father, Tony, who had a number of them, including a Boss 429 that he spent countless hours working on.
“He had a passion for Mustangs when he was really young and passed that down to me because I share that from the old ones to the new ones,” said Matt. “I’ve always appreciated the history of Mustang, and now that I’m driving for the Wood Brothers, who have been with Ford for the last 70 years, it makes everything pretty neat.”
Ford Performace PR
With continuing guidelines set forth by government officials regarding the COVID-19 situation, the Fulton Speedway will cancel its annual opening Highbank Holdup Weekend featuring the DIRTcar 358 Modified Series and DIRTcar Sportsman Modified Series to be held on April 24 and 25.
“It’s unfortunate that we do have to cancel the weekend, we were waiting a bit just hoping something would change for the better and give the fans a weekend of racing,” noted Fulton General Manager Cory Reed, “However, the safety of our fans, employees and the competitors comes first. I’m confident we eventually hold races but we also want to make sure it’s safe for all to attend.”
The weekend was filled with the St. Lawrence Radiology Highbank Holdup 60 for the DIRTcar 358 Modified Series and DIRTcar Sportsman Modified Series: Central Region events, the Empire Super Sprints presented by Tim Grevelding Snap-On Tools and Fulton’s own Billy Whittaker Cars & Trux Late Models.
“I talked to Dean (Reynolds) quite a bit over the last few weeks. While we had our fingers crossed and just hope something would break it was the best decision by far,” Reed said. “With this being a weekend event and with the uncertainty of when we all will be racing we will just cancel. When we get back all the tracks will want to open up and run, we just don’t want to interfere with weekly scheduling.”
Fulton is scheduled to resume weekly racing on Saturday, May 2 but Reed notes for all to stay abreast of current announcements that will be made on their social networking channels. “Of course, May 2 is very tentative but we will be ready if the government officials give us the green light and it’s safe. We just encourage everyone to watch our social media.”
DIRTcar Series PR
Due to the latest Federal safety guidelines regarding the coronavirus, the April 18th PASSCAR Stock Car Series/IMCA Modified race and the “Sokola Shootout” for the USAC/CRA Sprint Cars on April 25th at Perris Auto Speedway have been postponed.
Promoter Don Kazarian has indicated that both races, plus the March 14th PASSCAR/IMCA race and the April 4th Night of Destruction, will be made up later in the year. Details for the makeup dates will be released as soon as there is a clear picture of when the season can be resumed.
Unfortunately, the “3rd Annual Up Down ‘N Dirty 4 A Cure Mud Run Benefiting The American Cancer Society” has been canceled for 2020. That popular event will return in 2021.
Don Kazarian and the entire PAS staff are urging everyone to please take all necessary steps to stay safe and healthy. We look forward to seeing everyone back at the track as soon as it is possible.
To keep up with all the latest Perris Auto Speedway news, photos, gossip and receive special offers, please use the following links:
Twitter: Perris Auto Speedway on Twitter.
Perris Auto Speedway is conveniently located on the SoCal Fair and Event Center (home of October’s Southern California Fair), approximately one-hour east of Los Angeles and one-hour North of San Diego. To get to the track, take the 215 freeway, on the Ramona Expressway and go three miles east to the fairgrounds. For directions on MapQuest, the address to enter is: 18700 Lake Perris Drive and the zip code is 92571.
Perris Auto Speedway wants to thank its corporate partners for the 2019 season. Ahern Equipment Rentals, All Coast Construction, Battery Systems, Budweiser, Bud’s Tire Pro, Chris’ Hauling, City of Perris, Communication Innovations, Daytona Boat & RV Storage, Ed Moore Bullet Proof Driveshaft, Flowdynamics, HD Industries, Hoosier Tires, Inland Rigging, Living Water’s Hospice, LKQ Pick Your Part, Luke’s Transmission, Pepsi-Cola, Pole Position, PrintItNow.com, Rainbow Bolt & Supply, Rugged Radios, Shaver Specialties, Square H, Sunoco Race Fuels, Trench Shoring, Upland Rock, Varner Construction and Vista Paint.
DVD’s of all the PASSCAR/IMCA racing and Nights of Destruction at The PAS are available from Fourvideos. For more information call (714) 225-9500.
After over 100,000 people tuned in for the broadcast of the first win for the Toyota Camry at Indianapolis Raceway Park in 2007 on Toyota Racing social media channels this past Wednesday, the platforms will continue to broadcast historical achievements by streaming multiple other milestone events during the break in on-track action over the coming weeks.
“After the high levels of fan engagement this past week during our broadcast of that historic first win for Camry, we are pleased to continue this series both to give our fans some on-track action to enjoy as well as to highlight big moments in our NASCAR history,” said Paul Doleshal, group manager of motorsports and asset management for Toyota Motor North America (TMNA). “We want to thank NASCAR for their support of this project and we’re really looking forward to sharing more of these moments with the fans.”
The plan will be to continue broadcasting these events on Wednesday evenings at 6:30 PM ET on both Toyota Racing’s Facebook and Twitter channels.
This week, Toyota will highlight Christopher Bell’s first NASCAR win at Eldora Speedway in 2015. Bell is currently in his rookie season at the NASCAR Cup Series level after earning the 2017 NASCAR Gander RV & Outdoors Truck Series title and 16 career NASCAR Xfinity Series wins.
Although the schedule of events is subject to change, the Toyota Racing channels plan on airing the following events:
- The 2008 Kobalt Tools 500 from Atlanta Motor Speedway, which features Kyle Busch delivering Toyota their first Cup Series win.
- The 2013 Toyota/SaveMart 350 from Sonoma Raceway, where Martin Truex Jr. ended a long winless streak and scored his first road course win.
- The 2016 Daytona 500 from the Daytona International Speedway, which saw Denny Hamlin deliver Toyota their first Daytona 500 win.
- The 2004 Line-X Spray-On Truck Bedliners 200 from Michigan International Speedway, where Travis Kvapil claimed Toyota’s first NASCAR national series win.
- The 2013 Lucas Oil 150 from Phoenix Raceway, which saw then 17-year-old Erik Jones drive to victory in just his fifth career NASCAR start.
- The 2011 NextEra Energy Solutions 250 from Daytona International Speedway, where Michael Waltrip drove to the win in what ended up being his final Gander Trucks start in a last lap pass.
Since joining the Gander Trucks in 2004, Toyota has earned 500 NASCAR national series wins – an achievement earned by NASCAR Xfinity Series driver Brandon Jones at the series’ most recent stop at Phoenix Raceway in March.
Sacramento-based Jaws Gear & Axle, one of the leading suppliers of differential parts in the USA, has joined the All American Speedway as a partner for the 2020 racing season. Jaws Gear & Axle will present the speedway’s fast-growing NASCAR Limited Modified division.
Jaws Gear & Axle has over 22 years of drivetrain experience and can deliver to most US addresses within three business days. They are located at 5630 Roseville Road #D in Sacramento with a strong commitment to selling only the most quality auto parts.
The partnership with All American Speedway and Bill McAnally Racing Promotions will extend beyond the track. Jaws will also become a part of the Roseville Joint Union High School District Auto Service Technician program, developed by BMR in the fall of 2019. The program offers students - from both RJUHSD and the Roseville Adult School - the chance to learn how to be a basic automotive mechanic. Classes take place inside the state-of-the-art shop at Bill McAnally Racing.
The Jaws Gear & Axle Limited Modifieds serves as the division II for the NASCAR weekly racing series program at the one-third mile speedway. It bridges the gap between entry level racing and regional Late Model racing with an affordable rules package. Nearly 20 drivers have registered for the 2020 season.
For more information about the All American Speedway, visit www.AllAmericanSpeedway.com Jaws Gear & Axle can be found online at www.JawsGear.com
2020 All American Speedway Schedule
Subject to Change
Saturday, April 11 - NASCAR Racing Season Opener + Trailer Bash POSTPONED
Saturday, May 2 – NASCAR Racing + UTV Races POSTPONED
Saturday, May 16 – SRL Southwest Tour + NASCAR Weekly Racing
Saturday, June 13 – NASCAR Racing
Saturday, July 11 – NASCAR Racing + Trailer Bash
Saturday, July 18 – NASCAR Racing + UTV Races & RV Demolition Derby
Saturday, August 1 – NASCAR Racing + Trailer Bash
Saturday, August 15 – BACK TO SCHOOL BASH ENDURO, Kids UTV 170s, Bandolero National Qualifier
Saturday, August 29 – NASCAR Racing + UTV Races
Saturday, September 12 – Tribute to Heroes NASCAR Racing + Trailer Bash
Saturday, September 26 – SRL Southwest Tour + NASCAR Racing
Saturday, October 10 – OCTOBER CLASSIC NAPA AUTO PARTS/Toyota 150 ARCA Menards Series West + NASCAR Racing
Saturday, October 17 – Malicious Monster Truck Tour (2 shows) + Megasaurus, UTV Nationals
Saturday October 24 – PUMPKIN SMASH ENDURO + Trailer Bash
FOX Sports throws a little dirt into its eSports lineup this week, with the addition of World of Outlaws iRacing from the virtual Dirt Track at Charlotte on Wednesday, April 1 (8:00 PM ET) on FS1. The race marks the beginning of a weekly FS1 series of iRacing events across multiple disciplines and various virtual racetracks.
This week’s World of Outlaws iRacing event features stars from multiple series, including Brad Sweet (WoO), David Gravel (WoO), Bobby Pierce (DIRTcar Racing), Scott Bloomquist (WoO), Kyle Larson (NASCAR), Christopher Bell (NASCAR), Cruz Pedregon (NHRA) and Ron Capps (NHRA).
The one-hour program features a 35-lap World of Outlaws NOS Energy Drink Sprint Car Series race, followed by a 50-lap Morton Buildings Late Model battle.
“The iRacing simulation platform is undeniably the closest thing to real racing we can deliver to our viewers during this challenging time,” said Brad Zager, FOX Sports Executive Producer, EVP/Head of Production & Operations. “While the racing may be virtual, the competition and fun are absolutely real, and we’ll use Wednesday nights to explore a variety of virtual racing.”
For Wednesday’s first event, Adam Alexander hosts, with Johnny Gibson, “The Voice” of the World of Outlaws, calling the action. NASCAR Hall-of-Famer Jeff Gordon and NASCAR CUP SERIES driver Clint Bowyer, who owns a Dirt Late Model race team, provide commentary.
“Americans are resilient, dirt track fans more than most, but they are also a proud group,” said Ben Geisler, Chief Marketing Officer for the World of Outlaws. “I can’t wait to hear them talking about the sport they love this week, while FOX Sports places it on arguably the biggest stage in sports right now. Our drivers are a determined bunch, they have jumped through hoops to find sim gear and they are putting in 10-hour marathon practice sessions to get up to speed.They will put on a great show.”
FOX Sports also continues its coverage of the eNASCAR iRacing Pro Invitational Series from virtual Bristol Motor Speedway on Sunday, April 5 (1:00 PM ET) on FOX*, FS1 and the FOX Sports app. Last Sunday’s event from virtual Texas Motor Speedway drew 1,339,000 viewers across FOX and FS1, a record for eSports on linear television for the second consecutive week.
FOX Sports PR
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