Matt DiBenedetto said he was “betting on himself” last month during the Brickyard 400 weekend. Now it appears that bet will pay off for him, at least for a season.
DiBenedetto is expected to sign with Leavine Family Racing for 2019 as the team moves from Chevrolet to Toyota. The move to TRD is expected to come with a Joe Gibbs Racing alliance to boot.
This won’t be DiBenedetto’s first foray into the Toyota or Gibbs camps. He drove for JGR in the Xfinity series when he was 18. That tenure garnered mediocre results at best considering the equipment he was in. However, 8 years later his driving has matured and could result in a solid stop gap year for LFR in 2019.
Christopher Bell is Cup ready currently, however, Joe Gibbs Racing will be leaving him in the Xfinity Series for the 2019 season. It’s an unpopular move but definitely the right move. Another year to mature and hone his abilities will allow him to avoid some of the same struggles William Byron has experienced this year. In 2020 Bell will need a seat in the Cup Series, that’s where LFR comes into play. With an expected alliance with JGR that gives them a seat for Bell that isn’t an “in-house” seat.
For now, though DiBenedetto will replace Kasey Kahne who unfortunately has been forced into an earlier retirement than anticipated. Expectations will be higher for 2019 than they were for 2018 with the change in manufacturers. DiBenedetto will finally have that chance to show his skills that he has so desperately championed for on Twitter.
Look for this to be official on Wednesday.
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