Matt DiBenedetto and the No. 21 Menards/Quaker State Mustang hit the dirt track at Bristol Motor Speedway for the first time during two Friday practice sessions.
Because the session – like the upcoming qualifying races and Sunday’s Food City Dirt Race – was scheduled in daytime hours, track conditions were unlike a typical dirt event.
“It was a big ol’ dust bowl,” DiBenedetto said. “With the sun beating down on the track, it was real dusty and slicked up pretty fast.
“It actually drove more like an asphalt track.”
DiBenedetto said he was pleased with the performance of his car.
“The Menards/Quaker State Mustang was fine,” he said. “No big complaints. We made some changes and learned some things that will help in the heat races and on Sunday.”
He said he enjoyed having pre-race practice, something that hasn’t occurred most race weekends due to schedule changes made to deal with COVID.
“It was good to go through our regular practice routine with the team,” he said. “We’ve been missing that.”
The Menards/Quaker State Mustang was 19th fastest in first practice, with a best lap at 86.910 miles per hour on his second of 34 laps run. He was 11th when it came to best 10-consecutive-lap average speed, which was 85.777 mph.
DiBenedetto and the Menards team improved for the second practice, posting the 13th-best speed. He ran his best lap, at 87.977 mph, on the 31st of 56 laps run. He was 26th-best in 10-consecutive-lap average speed, at 85.460 mph.
The starting line-up for Sunday’s Food City Dirt Race will be determined by the finishing results of Saturday’s 15-lap qualifying races. DiBenedetto is set to start on the outside pole of the fourth and final race.
TV coverage of Saturday’s qualifying races will begin at 6 p.m. Eastern Time on FOX Sports One.
Sunday’s race is set to start just after 3:30 p.m. on Sunday, with TV coverage switching to FOX.