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DIBENEDETTO CONQUERS THE STADIUM DOMINATES K&N PRO SERIES EAST RACE AT BOWMAN GRAY

NASCAR K & N PRO SERIES
Source — NASCAR
Date Posted — June 05, 2011
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DIBENEDETTO CONQUERS THE STADIUM DOMINATES K&N PRO SERIES EAST RACE AT BOWMAN GRAY

WINSTON-SALEM, N.C. -- Matt DiBenedetto made getting around the tight oval at historic Bowman Gray Stadium look easy.

The 19-year-old from Grass Valley, Calif., led every lap of the Army Strong 150 Saturday night en route to his first win of 2011 and third of his NASCAR K&N Pro Series East career.

DiBenedetto started on the outside pole alongside Coleman Pressley and was able to out-duel his teammate on the first lap.

“It was a blessing to get out in front there and lead from the start,” DiBenedetto said. “That’s what I was wanting to do, but I didn’t think it would work from the outside.”

From there he was able to hold down the inside line through numerous restarts and come away with the victory.

“I was really focused on treating every restart like it was green-white-checker because if I would have lost that position and gone back to second, I felt like that would have just been the race, DiBenedetto said”

Corey LaJoie briefly moved in front DiBenedetto in the closing stages of the race, but was never able to officially take the lead and settled for second on the green-white-checkered finish. The runner-up effort tied LaJoie’s career best.

“Saving your brakes, saving your fenders and saving your tires was huge, but the biggest thing was track position,” LaJoie said. “We got stuck on the high side and I tried to make the most out of it but the 15 [DiBenedetto] held the bottom a little bit better than us.”

Rookie Ben Kennedy, the grandson of Bill France Jr., earned his career-best finish in third. Max Gresham and D.J. Shaw were fourth and fifth, respectively.

Darrell Wallace Jr., Chad Finchum, Cody Hodgson, Chad Boat and Ryan Gifford rounded out the top 10. It marked the best finish to-date for rookies Finchum, Hodgson and Boat.

Wallace, who started at the rear due to unapproved adjustments following Friday’s post-qualifying impound, took over the points lead from Brett Moffitt, who finished 16th and dropped to fourth. Wallace leads DiBenedetto by 17, Gresham by 30, and Moffitt by 34.

Moffitt was running third when he was involved in an incident on Lap 110 and had to rally to salvage 16th place.

Friday night’s pole winner, Pressley ran at the front with DiBenedetto through the first two-thirds of the race, but a cut tire forced him to pit and he was later involved in an accident and relegated to a 22nd-place finish.

DiBenedetto delivered the first win for X Team Racing in his No. 15 Gear Wrench Toyota. A newcomer to the series in 2011, X Team’s three-car effort has now netted 10 top-10 finishes through the season’s first five races. His career wins have come at each of the three types of tracks the series currently competes at: a bullring (Bowman Gray), a short track (Tri-County) and a speedway (New Hampshire).

Saturday's Army Strong 150 was the first for the K&N Pro Series East at the venerable quarter-mile that is steeped in NASCAR history, and just the second stand-alone event in the state of North Carolina in the series’ 25 years of competition.

The race also marked the first for the series at a quarter-mile oval since 2003. The tight confines produced a season-high 15 cautions for 87 laps, but 15 of the 27 starters finished on the lead lap and only six were not running at the end.

The Army Strong 150 will air on SPEED on Thursday, June 9 at 6 p.m.

The NASCAR K&N Pro Series East returns to the track Saturday, June 11 for the Slack Auto Parts 150 at Gresham Motorsports Park in Jefferson, Ga.

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Race Results -- 06/04/2011
NASCAR K & N Pro Series
1 2 15 Matt DiBenedetto Gear Wrench Toyota 156 190 10 Running
2 13 07 Corey LaJoie * Thermal Control/Sims Metal Mgmt. Ford 156 170 Running
3 11 96 Ben Kennedy * Biscuit King Chevrolet 156 165 Running
4 6 18 Max Gresham World Crown 300 Toyota 156 160 Running
5 18 37 D.J. Shaw Precision JLM/Spraker Racing Chevrolet 156 155 Running
6 9 6 Darrell Wallace, Jr. U.S. Army Toyota 156 150 Running
7 25 12 Chad Finchum * Telmex/TWR/Pure Water Dodge 156 146 Running
8 22 03 Cody Hodgson * Ocala Gran Prix Chevrolet 156 142 Running
9 16 98 Chad Boat * Curb Records Chevrolet 156 138 Running
10 12 2 Ryan Gifford Toyota Racing Development Toyota 156 134 Running
11 15 32 Dale Quarterley Van Dyk Baler Chevrolet 156 130 Running
12 17 16 Alex Bowman * Greg Paul Produce/Line-X Toyota 156 127 Running
13 21 71 Eddie MacDonald Grimm Construction Chevrolet 156 124 Running
14 23 8 Michael Cherry * Fueling Dreams Tour Toyota 156 121 Running
15 27 33 Kevan Combs * Crossroads Harley-Davidson Chevrolet 156 118 Running
16 4 00 Brett Moffitt Michael Waltrip Racing Toyota 155 115 Running
17 10 46 Brandon Gdovic * Aquis Communications/ComServe Dodge 153 112 Running
18 7 9 Chase Elliott * HendrickCars.com/Aaron's Chevrolet 152 109 Running
19 24 27 Cale Conley * PMC/Health Bridge Imaging Chevrolet 151 106 Running
20 19 62 Andrew Smith * SavannahPawn.com Chevrolet 150 103 Running
21 20 64 Rick Gdovic * Aquis Communications/ComServe Dodge 144 100 Running
22 1 14 Coleman Pressley AW North Carolina/Aisin Toyota 125 97 Oil Leak
23 14 66 Benny Gordon Varischetti & Sons Chevrolet 102 94 Accident
24 3 11 Robert Johnson * NASCAR Hall of Fame Chevrolet 100 91 Overheating
25 26 08 Clay Campbell * Mountain Dew/Spraker Racing Chevrolet 98 88 Overheating
26 5 4 Sergio Peña Freightliner Toyota 87 85 Engine
27 8 51 Brandon Haley * Carter's Royal Ford 79 82 Overheating

RACE STATISTICS
Fastest Qualifier: Coleman Pressley, Time: 14.772 Seconds, Speed: 60.926 mph
Time of Race: 1 hrs., 22 mins, 25 secs Average Speed: 28.392 mph Margin of Victory: 0.384 Seconds
Caution Flags: Laps 10-14 (Car #32 spin in Turn 4); 21-25 (Cars #32, 27, 9 spin in Turn 2); 28-33 (Multi-car accident in Turns 3 & 4 [Red Flag: 3 mins.]); 39-47 (Car #66 spin in Turn 2); 62-65 (Car #27 spin in Turn 4); 68-75 (Cars #16, 03, 51 spin in Turn 3); 77-81 (Car #64 spin on frontstretch, Cars #2, 18 spin in Turn 4 [Red Flag: 2 mins.]); 86-90 (Multi-car accident in Turn 2 [Red Flag: 2 mins.]); 93-96 (Car #98 spin in Turn 2); 104-108 (Cars 26,66 spin in Turn 4); 111-119 (Cars #00, 2 spin on frontstretch); 123-131 (Multi-car accident in Turn 4); 136-138 (Car #16 spin on backstretch); 142-146 (Car #2 spin in Turn 2); 149-153 (Car #33 spin in Turn 4). 15 for 87 laps.
Lap Leaders: Matt DiBenedetto 1-156.
Total Laps Led: Matt DiBenedetto 156. 0 changes involving 1 drivers.

CONTINGENCY AWARDS
COCA-COLA MOVE OF THE RACE AWARD: Chad Finchum *, 12 Telmex/TWR/Pure Water Dodge
COORS LIGHT POLE AWARD: Coleman Pressley, 14 AW North Carolina/Aisin Toyota
FEATHERLITE MOST IMPROVED DRIVER AWARD: Corey LaJoie *, 07 Thermal Control/Sims Metal Mgmt. Ford
SUNOCO ROOKIE OF THE RACE AWARD: Corey LaJoie *, 07 Thermal Control/Sims Metal Mgmt. Ford

* Sunoco Rookie of the Year Contender
See also
Article posted by RacingWest.com staff on June 05, 2011. http://www.racingwest.com

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