By Seth Eggert, NASCAR Writer
CONCORD, N.C. – After starting the Coca-Cola 600 with promise, Matt DiBenedetto’s race came to a crashing end after 142 laps.
The Monster Energy NASCAR Cup Series driver started the race in 30th in the No. 32 Cosmo Motors Ford Fusion for Go Fas Racing led by Gene Nead.
Stage 1 was quiet for DiBenedetto and by the end, he had climbed to 25th, one lap down.
42 laps into Stage 2, DiBenedetto tagged the wall exiting turn four. As he entered turn one, his right front tire went flat and he pancaked the right side of his Ford on the outside wall. DiBenedetto slowly grinded to a halt against the wall, bringing out the third caution of the race.
DiBenedetto was confused as to how he had cut down a tire,
“We were running okay for what we had. Our balance was good and everything was fine. I had no indication of anything going wrong. It’s not like it was tight and plowing the right-front off of it, and all of a sudden I went into one and blew a right-front and killed it. I don’t know where that came from. We had no indication all weekend. Our tire temps were good, so I’m not sure why that happened or if maybe I ran over something.”
One lap after DiBenedetto grinded to a halt, NASCAR elected to bring the remaining cars onto pit road as lightning had been reported around Charlotte Motor Speedway. Within minutes, the skies opened and a deluge of water fell from the sky. Cameras caught the torrent of water as it pooled on the backstretch. After about 15 minutes, the rain clouds moved out and track drying efforts started.
Now as Charlotte dries out, DiBenedetto will look to rebound from his disappointing end to NASCAR’s longest race and the 600 Miles of Remembrance.