On Saturday afternoon, Matt DiBenedetto had a hard crash during the XFINITY Series’ O’Reilly Auto Parts Challenge at Texas Motor Speedway. The No. 14 Toyota went hard into the turn 3 wall on lap 134 unassisted. He dropped his window net shortly after coming to a stop, signaling to safety crews that he was alright.
“I’m fine,” DiBenedetto told Frontstretch after the accident. “A lugnut got in the wheel and knocked the valve stem out. It let all of the air out going into (turn) 3.”
Such an explanation makes sense since DiBenedetto had just made a pit stop. The crash happened less than a lap after the stop.
As per regulations, DiBenedetto went to the Infield Care Center for a checkup after the crash. While hewas treated and released, physicians refused to clear a return to competition. Instead, they placed him into NASCAR’s concussion protocol, forcing him to sit out Sunday’s AAA Texas 500.
DiBenedetto is not happy with the move, but understands the process.
I'm feeling totally fine…just having to follow the concussion protocol. Hate I can't drive tomorrow but I'm looking forward to Phoenix.
— Matt DiBenedetto (@mattdracing) November 6, 2016
BK Racing announced on Twitter that Jeffrey Earnhardt, who drove the No. 83 at Talladega in October and will race it again at Homestead with Starter sponsorship, will drive in DiBenedetto’s place on Sunday. Earnhardt is free to drive the No. 83 since Joey Gase is driving the No. 32 for Go FAS Racing this weekend.
Due to the post-qualifying driver change, Earnhardt will have to drop from the 33rd starting spot to the rear of the field. The AAA Texas 500 will run at 1 p.m. local time.