Friday, August 23, 2019

Where I Think Matty D Could Be in 2020

Could we see Matt DiBenedetto in a top Truck Series ride in 2020? (PixelatedSPEED composite photo)

PENSACOLA, Florida (August 23, 2019) -- Alright, Matt DiBenedetto has arrived… almost. After “betting on himself” by leaving GoFas Racing following the 2018 season, Matty D landed at Levine Family Racing for 2019 driving Toyotas in a partnership with Joe Gibbs Racing.

As everyone is well aware, the same JGR tie-in is the same source of DiBenedetto’s upcoming departure from LFR once the 2019 season concludes.

DiBenedetto made the news officially official last week that he indeed would not be returning to the 95 car next season. He then followed that announcement with a stellar performance at Bristol Motor Speedway.

After leading the most laps in Bristol, and coming within only a handful of a breakthrough win, the big question going into the Monster Energy NASCAR Cup Series off weekend is, “Where will Matty D go in 2020?”

The most obvious answer is the Xfinity Series program at JGR. With Chirstopher Bell (presumably) moving on to Cup in Bob Levine’s 95 car, the 20 car… which has amassed five wins so far in 2019… opens up, providing an excellent opportunity for DiBenedetto.

The prevailing theory with this move is to have DiBenedetto run Xfinity in 2020, then possibly move back to Cup in a second LFR car in 2021… just in time for the debut of the new Gen 7 Cup car.

A less likely, yet still possible, solution comes with JGR partner iK9 and their Xtreme Concepts Racing team. Xtreme Concepts have run a handful of races with driver Jeffery Earnhardt in 2019, and that partnership has carried over to the Joe Gibbs Racing program. In mid-August, Earnhardt announced that he and iK9 had parted company, opening up opportunities for not only Xtreme Concepts scheduled events, but iK9 sponsored opportunities at JGR as well.

That combined partnership has led to Matty D driving in an iK9 sponsored car for JGR at Road Atlanta this coming weekend.

Throughout this entire ordeal, DiBenedetto has been nothing but gracious and thankful for all the opportunities that have been afforded to him, even amid the news of his release. Not burning those bridges could pay off in the long run if the 20 car is presented to him, or if Xtreme Concepts puts together a full time effort next season, possibly putting DiBenedetto in the seat.

Beyond the Xfinity Series, Matty D could find himself in the Gander Outdoors Truck Series driving for Kyle Busch Motorsports.

Here’s the logic.

The iconic 51 truck is locked up with up to five races for Kyle Busch himself. Beyond that, Chandler Smith is likely to return, and other “all-star” drivers could take turns at that seat.

KBM’s other two trucks, however, are questionable, and could become opportunities for DiBenedetto.

Between drivers Harrison Burton and Todd Gilliland, it seems very likely that Gilliland’s seat is the most likely to be vacated in 2020. Gilliland’s performance in that truck has been lackluster when compared to the pedigree established by his predecessors.

Should Gilliland leave the 4 truck, it’s not a far stretch to fathom DiBenedetto running for a truck series championship in that ride.

However, should no doors at JGR or KBM open up, there is still yet another very strong spot for the driver from Grass Valley, California.

Matty D could fit well behind the wheel of the 54 DGR-Crossley truck.

Natalie Decker has by all accounts had a very disappointing rookie season. Her teammates have far exceeded her in performance, with Tyler Ankrum making the playoffs after a convincing win at Kentucky, while Anthony Alfredo has been consistent and solid all year long.

Decker’s cavalcade of circumstance mixed with inexperience and quite frankly lack of talent (mostly due, in my opinion, to being promoted to the truck series too soon) have resulted in a mirriad of unfavorable highlight reels that could see her out come next season.

Should Decker say so long, a very capable seat backed by a solid team with respectable equipment could be a strong fit for DiBenedetto.

In the end, one thing is certain, and that’s that nothing is certain. What seems like the most logical solutions often times finds a way to be completely muddled with the complexities of sponsorships, and the politics behind the scenes of the sport.

One thing is certain in the eyes of the NASCAR fan base, and that is that Matt Dibenedetto is a star that has won over the hearts of many. His Cinderella story is sure to have a fairy tale ending, it just may take a little more time to get there.

PixelatedSPEED is a motorsports news and views website covering all things racing and has been “Bringing Pixels 2 Pavement Since 2018”. If you've made it this far into the post, thank you. Please consider sharing this content on the interwebs and following PixelatedSPEED on Facebook and Twitter and joining in on the conversation. & 

Sunday, August 4, 2019

PACE LAPS - Go Bowling at the Glen

WATKINS GLEN, New York (August 4, 2019)


Official Event Title: Go Bowling at the Glen
Venue: Watkins Glen International
Series: Monster Energy NASCAR Cup Series Race #22 of 36
Date: Sunday, August 4, 2019
Green: Scheduled Green Flag (approx): 3:20pm/et
Laps/Stages: 90 laps total. Stages end on laps: 20/40/90


- Watkins Glen International is a 2.45-mile road course with seven turns with a variety of banking in the turns, ranging from 6 to 10 degrees. The length of the frontstretch is 2,150 feet, and the backstretch is 2,400 feet. The track width varies from 36′ to 48′ wide, and there is an elevation change of 115 feet.

- Since the advent of electronic scoring (in 1993) the closest margin of victory (MOV) in the Monster Energy NASCAR Cup Series at Watkins Glen is the 2001 race won by Jeff Gordon over Jeff Burton with a MOV of 0.172 seconds. Last season’s race was the largest margin of victory in track history with Chase Elliott beating Martin Truex Jr. to the finish line by 7.560 seconds.

- There have been two Monster Energy NASCAR Cup Series races resulting with NASCAR Overtime at Watkins Glen.


- After several events were held on the streets of Watkins Glen, a permanent facility was opened in 1956.

- The first Monster Energy NASCAR Cup Series race at Watkins Glen International was in 1957, won by Buck Baker (83.064 mph, 08/04/1957).

- After a six-year absence, NASCAR returned to The Glen in 1964 and 1965.

- Then after a 21-year absence, the Monster Energy NASCAR Cup Series returned to The Glen and has run one race a year there since 1986.

- The first Monster Energy NASCAR Cup Series race at Watkins Glen was scheduled for 101.2-miles in 1957, the second race was 161.7-miles (1964) and the third race was 151.8-miles (1965). Every race since has been scheduled for 220.5-miles.

- The famous road course underwent a repave in 2015.

- There have been 36 Monster Energy NASCAR Cup Series races at Watkins Glen International.
- A total of 280 different drivers have competed in at least one Monster Energy NASCAR Cup Series race at Watkins Glen International; 170 have competed in more than one.

- Kyle Busch (14 starts) leads the series among active drivers in average starting position at Watkins Glen with a 7.071.

- Kyle Busch leads all active drivers in poles at Watkins Glen with two (2011 and 2017).

- Youngest Watkins Glen pole winner: Kyle Busch (08/15/2011 – 26 years, 3 months, 13 days).

- Oldest Watkins Glen pole winner: Morgan Shepherd (08/13/1989 – 47 years, 10 months, 1 day).

- By: Daniel Vining, Twitter: @danielvining
- Statistics gathered from various sources.

PixelatedSPEED is a motorsports news and views website covering all things racing and has been “Bringing Pixels 2 Pavement Since 2018”. If you've made it this far into the post, thank you. Please consider sharing this content on the interwebs and following PixelatedSPEED on Facebook and Twitter and joining in on the conversation. & 

Saturday, August 3, 2019


WATKINS GLEN, New York (August 4, 2019) -- The NASCAR Nation is parked in the “Finger Lakes” region of New York for the tour’s annual pilgrimage to Watkins Glen International for the Go Bowling at the Glen, while the Formula 1 World Championship takes on Hungary. Here is your Motorsports TV Schedule for Sunday, August 4, 2019...


8:30 AM, NXS Watkins Glen race re-air, NBCSN
11:00 AM, MENCS Watkins Glen practice re-air, NBCSN
12:00 PM, MENCS Watkins Glen qualifying re-air, NBCSN
12:30 PM, NASCAR RaceDay, FS1
1:00 PM, NASCAR America, NBCSN
2:30 PM, Countdown to Green, NBCSN
3:00 PM, MENCS Watkins Glen race, NBCSN
5:30 PM, MENCS Post Race, NBCSN


8:30 AM, On the Grid, ESPN2
9:05 AM, Formula 1 Hungarian Grand Prix, ESPN2


6:00 AM, NHRA Qualifying re-air, FS1
11:00 AM, NHRA Final Round Qualifying re-air, FS1
2:25 PM, IMSA Weathertech Sportscar Championship at Road America, IMSA.TV Live
4:00 PM, NHRA Northwest Nationals from Seattle, FS1
6:00 PM, IMSA Weathertech Sportscar Championship at Road America, NBCSN Tape-Delayed

Friday, August 2, 2019


Racing Wives is a new reality series airing on CMT beginning in August 2019. (Racing Wives/BPG Agency)

By: Daniel Vining, Twitter: @danielvining

PENSACOLA, Florida (August 3, 2019) -- Racing Wives, a reality show revolving around the wives of the Busch brothers, Austin Dillon’s wife, and her best friend, debuted on Friday night on CMT.

The show features Samantha Busch, Kyle’s wife, Ashley Busch, Kurt’s wife, Whitney Ward Dillon, Austin’s wife, and Mariel Lane, fiance’ to Paul Swan who is a pit crew member on Dillon’s Cup Series team.

Trying to not have any expectations, I couldn’t help but wish for a show that is more in line with another NASCAR family-based reality show, NASCAR Drivers 360, which aired in the mid-2000s.

Instead, viewers are presented with a show more in tune with Keeping Up with the Kardashians. That’s not necessarily a bad thing, I’m just not sure if it’s a NASCAR thing.

Amber Balcaen is also featured as a potential driver candidate to drive for Kyle Busch Motorsports. Spoiler, she so far has driven in two races for KBM in 2019, the first at Hickory Motor Speedway and the second at Motor Mile Speedway. Both races were in KBM prepared late models.

I highly doubt that this show will truly engage with the core NASCAR audience, but I don’t think that was the intention. NASCAR is merely the gimmick, while the storylines and personalities of the featured participants are the hook.

The glitz, glamour, pomp and circumstance surrounding these larger than life characters is sure to draw an audience of a certain demographic more in tune with the current MTV generation… which is not centered around music.

All that being said, I don’t see any harm being done here. For those that are in to this type of TV show, I’m sure it will have it’s enjoyable moments.

Overall, however, I see this show being panned by the majority of NASCAR fandom, and if it cannot stand on its own without that “built-in” viewer base, the show will not last.

But that’s just my two cents. What are yours? Leave your comments, but please be respectful to each other.

Also, if you enjoyed this content, smash the LIKE button and SHARE this post… it really does help a ton.

PixelatedSPEED is a motorsports news and views website covering all things racing and has been “Bringing Pixels 2 Pavement Since 2018”. If you've made it this far into the post, thank you. Please consider sharing this content on the interwebs and following PixelatedSPEED on Facebook and Twitter and joining in on the conversation. & 

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