Matt DiBenedetto gives his Martinsville take from ‘total race fan’ perspective

Matt DiBenedetto was out of the Martinsville race last week after just 187 laps, so he watched the dramatic finish as a fan, he said Saturday during a media session.

“That was the most exciting race I’ve ever watched,” DiBenedetto said.

But the GoFas Racing driver couldn’t help but wonder what he would have done in a similar situation as Denny Hamlin or Chase Elliott.

DiBenedetto said he didn’t have a problem with what Hamlin did because “it wasn’t intentional” and the Joe Gibbs Racing driver was trying to do a big bump-and-run that went bad.

He certainly wouldn’t have apologized in Hamlin’s situation.

“There’s no way in hell I would apologize for that,” DiBenedetto said. “You don’t want to wreck anyone, but that’s the situation you’re forced into. Winning is everything and finishing second doesn’t matter.

“I’d do everything in the world. I’d move my grandmother out of the way on the last lap to have a chance at winning the championship. I’d be like, ‘I hate I wrecked him. I didn’t want to do that. But yeah, I was trying to move him out of the way. We’re racing at Martinsville and I want to go to the championship.'”

On the other hand, even though he said Hamlin didn’t have anything to apologize for, DiBenedetto said he likely would have gotten physical out of pure anger with the situation.

“From Chase’s standpoint…I would be so angry, just out of passion and caring that I would probably lose my mind,” he said. “From an outsider’s perspective, props to him for being so calm, but as a fan, I wanted to see him get out and just be so angry that I don’t care if he shoved him. I was heated just watching it.

“Not that Denny did anything wrong, but if it were me, I probably would have gotten physical in some sort of way — just because I wouldn’t have been able to help it. Your guys work so hard all day every single day for you to have a shot at winning. For it to be taken away, I’d be mad.”

DiBenedetto smiled.


“But that’s my take as a total race fan,” he said.


5 Replies to “Matt DiBenedetto gives his Martinsville take from ‘total race fan’ perspective”

  1. Keepin’ it real. Good work, MDB. As usual, there are multiple truths that conspire to make reality. Would be nice if such holistic insight was more common than the “Hot Take”. Crap like Twitter, Trump, Fox, and partisanship (ism?)… are conspiring to ruin humanity. IMO

  2. I watched the “Dale” documentary on Monday – my entertainment for the evening being without cable or internet because of a damaging wind storm – and it instantly made me feel bad as a race fan that Denny Hamlin apologized. I liked immediately that he apologized, but what would Dale Earnhardt have done? He would’ve either wrecked Chase in the same way, or moved him out of the way as Denny said he intended. Either way, nothing more would’ve come from Earnhardt than his wry smile and maybe saying “I was just rattling his cage.”

    I still don’t think that intentionally wrecking someone like that is fair racing, but if this is what NASCAR has become, the drivers need to start owning their actions rather than apologizing for them afterwards.

    1. We know what Dale would have done. He did it in… 1994(?) I believe at Bristol. He bumped the beloved Terry Labonte, going for the win. Labonte wrecked.

      (Paraphrasing, but pretty close to verbatim, as throngs of fans rained boos down on him.)

      “Well, yeah, I meant to rattle his cage a bit and get ahead, I didn’t know he’d go spinning like that. Didn’t mean to.”

      It irritates the hell out of me people have a problem with what Hamlin did (even though Chase did it earlier, and did it to a much more experienced driver who could save his car, and Chase himself did it a few years ago to win a race in the lower series, slamming someone out of the way). Not only has NASCAR set it up to win big or go home, but this was literally what we’d watch and cheer/boo for just 15 years ago. NASCAR tried to manufacture it. It took 14 years, but they finally got their “controversy” back.

      And now everyone is acting like NASCAR was full of quaint little grandfathers and gentlemen who just happened to race a car. Bull. Any driver now, over 35 existed in an era where this move would be EXPECTED. You don’t have to like it. Who would? But that’s what created great racing. Rivalries. Deep passion.

      Not zoom, neerooom, zoom, for 4 hours, then golf claps for the gentleman jockey.

  3. From this fans perspective Denny was flat out wrong. But no he didn’t need to apologize because that doesn’t fix anything. Besides he probably didn’t mean it, either.

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