March 10, 2021
After an encouraging run at Las Vegas Motor Speedway last Sunday, Matt DiBenedetto and the No. 21 Motorcraft/Quick Lane team are headed to Phoenix Raceway hoping to build on two successful races on the desert track in 2020.
Last year at Phoenix, DiBenedetto and the Motorcraft/Quick Lane team posted finishes of 13th in the spring and eighth in the fall and scored Stage points in the three of the four Stages of those two races.
“Phoenix has always been one of my favorite tracks,” DiBenedetto said, adding that the one-mile track moved up on his personal list after he took the wheel of the No. 21 Ford. “It’s better knowing we have a fast Motorcraft/Quick Lane Mustang and a strong team behind us.
“We had a great car last fall, so I feel pretty good heading there this weekend.”
DiBenedetto said there’s lots to like about Phoenix from the driver’s seat.
“It’s kind of a short track,” he said. “And we’re running a low-downforce package, which makes it fun to drive.”
For the past several weeks, DiBenedetto has had to start near the back of the pack, as those starting positions were set based on performances in the first three races, which were disappointments for the No. 21 team.
But his 16th-place finish at Las Vegas allowed him to move up to 20th place in the Phoenix starting line-up. He said that means the Motorcraft/Quick Lane team will be in position to gain Stage points in both Stages.
“I’d be real concerned if we were starting in the 30s, but I think we should be able to get some points in the first Stage and hopefully more in the second,” he said.
Sunday’s 312-lap Instacart 500-kilometer race is set to get the green flag just after 12:30 p.m. Mountain Standard Time (3:30 p.m. Eastern Time) with TV coverage on FOX. Stage breaks will be at 75 and 190 laps.