In their first three races together, Matt DiBenedetto and the No. 21 Motorcraft/Quick Lane team have been to a superspeedway (Daytona), a 1.5-mile track (Las Vegas) and a two-mile oval (Auto Club Speedway). Over that stretch they’ve had a best finish of second, at Las Vegas, and an average finish of 11.3, which has propelled them to eighth place in the Cup Series points standings.
Now they head to Phoenix Raceway, which is a mile in length but races like a short track, and DiBenedetto is anxious to get there.
"It’s one my favorite tracks," he said. "Short tracks and road courses are my personal best tracks."
New to Phoenix and the other short tracks and road courses this year in a new aerodynamic package intended to put more emphasis on driver skills and increase competition in those events.
The changes include reducing the height of the rear spoiler from eight inches to 2.75 along with changes to the splitter and the radiator pan’s vertical fencing, all with the goal of reducing downforce.
It will be in place for 14 races, beginning this weekend.
"I’m really excited about the lower downforce," DiBenedetto said. "It’ll be very racey, right up my alley.
"We’ll be sliding around more, which I will enjoy the most."
DiBenedetto said he’s proud of his team’s start to 2020, but is still looking to do better.
"It’s not a bad start," he said. "We’ve had top-five and top-10 speed. We just need to maximize all our opportunities."
Qualifying for the FanShield 500 is set for Saturday at 12:30 p.m (2:30 p.m. Eastern Time), and the race is scheduled to start just after 12:35 p.m. (3:35 p.m. Eastern Time) with TV coverage on FOX.