After strong back-to-back runs on intermediate-length tracks at Kentucky and Texas, Matt DiBenedetto and the Menards/Dutch Boy team are headed to another mile-and-a-half track looking to capitalize again on the speed of the No. 21 Wood Brothers Mustang.
DiBenedetto finished third at Kentucky and was poised for another top-five finish at Texas only to be collected in a late-race incident. Next up is Thursday night’s Super Start Batteries 400 at Kansas Speedway.
"I like Kansas better than the other intermediate tracks," DiBenedetto said. "You can move around more. There’s not really a preferred lane, even though the top can be better at times.
"You can go to any groove, and that makes the racing better."
DiBenedetto said the pavement at Kansas has aged well since it was redone in 2012.
"That pavement makes the racing better," he said. "The surface is a little slicker, and the lap times fall off during a run, which makes it more enjoyable."
Still, he said, it’s important to be up front as much as possible, to capitalize on the aerodynamic advantage that comes with racing in clean air.
With just eight races remaining before the start of the Cup Series playoffs, DiBenedetto and the Menards/Dutch Boy team are currently in 12th place in points and among the 16 teams that will start the 10-race, season-ending run to the championship.
But recent events have made a Playoff berth more of a challenge.
Two drivers who were below DiBenedetto in the Playoff standings, Cole Custer and Austin Dillon, won the past two races and took two of the guaranteed berths.
"Those guys winning bumped us back and put us in a little more uncomfortable position," he said. "But our Menards/ Dutch Boy team deserves to be in the Playoffs. We’ve had fast cars consistently run in the top five and top 10.
"If we can keep than up the rest will take care of itself."
There will be no practice or qualifying for Thursday night’s 400-mile race, which is set to get the green flag just after 7:30 p.m. Eastern Time with TV coverage on NBCSN.