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Matt DiBenedetto Discusses His NASCAR Journey and Prospects for 2020

“My whole dream is to win in the Cup Series. I can live with myself if it blows up in my face and everything fails. I can live with myself knowing I went all-in.” – DiBenedetto

Steve Letarte Reviews “Days of Thunder” as NBC Sports Celebrates NASCAR Throwback Weekend at Darlington

STAMFORD, Conn. – August 27, 2019 – Dale Earnhardt Jr. interviews NASCAR driver Matt DiBenedetto and NBC Sports NASCAR analyst Steve Letarte on this week’s episode of the Dale Jr. Download today at 5 p.m. ET on NBCSN.

DiBenedetto gives an in-depth look at his racing career, from the K&N Series to his move to the No. 95 team at Leavine Family Racing. DiBenedetto also discusses how his wife, Taylor, has been a guiding force during his career as he looks ahead to finding a ride for the 2020 season.

Following are excerpts from Earnhardt Jr.’s interview with DiBenedetto:

DiBenedetto on going all-in: “My whole dream is to win in the Cup Series. I can live with myself if it blows up in my face and everything fails, I can live with myself knowing I went all-in and gave every bit of my heart. I can’t live with myself, I won’t ever be able to live with myself, if I know that I know that I took any sort of a safe route to collect a paycheck.”

DiBenedetto on his wife, Taylor: “I wouldn’t be mentally put together without her. She is 100% my other half. An example just yesterday…I wouldn’t get out of bed yesterday I was so angry at myself over the Road America race this weekend, and frustrated that we threw away an easy win…she did nothing but pick me up, reminding me, ‘Hey, don’t forget you almost won the Bristol Night Race, one of the toughest races, and that’s no fluke.’”

DiBenedetto on getting a ride for 2020: “I’m trying to find a happy medium (between banging down doors and being more relaxed) now, because I’ve been lucky enough to have the stuff and people and equipment to do more of it on track.”

Earnhardt Jr. on DiBenedetto’s future: “Everybody wants to see you succeed, and everybody loves your story, they love your drive…I want to see you keep trying. Tell me something that’s going to give me hope.”

DiBenedetto: “Every single time in my entire life, when we look at things that have devastated me…every time when a door closed, a better one opens. I hate to bank on that, but I believed in fate and I believe things happen for a reason.”

DiBenedetto on his career path: “I would not change a single thing in my path to get here because that’s what made me a better racecar driver. If I went and had an easier route, I wouldn’t be able to appreciate as much. I wouldn’t bleed for it as badly. I wouldn’t be as good behind the wheel and learning all these aspects of NASCAR that I wouldn’t have known.”

Steve Letarte joins the Dale Jr. Download to provide his movie review of Days of Thunder after recently watching the iconic 1990 film for the first time, ahead of this weekend’s NASCAR Throwback Weekend at Darlington Raceway which is honoring the sport’s 1990-94 era.

Earnhardt Jr. on Hendrick Motorsports connection to “Days of Thunder”: “I connect the movie to Hendrick Motorsports. It’s so influenced by Rick and his company. They used all the cars, paint schemes, City Chevrolet – there’s so many connections to HMS and the movie.”

Steve Letarte on “Days of Thunder”: “I thought it was pretty solid! It had real race footage from real racetracks. People were mad that they connected the wrong track to the wrong footage, they are way too in the weeds. The fact that it was real cars of the correct eras, on the right race, that was good enough for me.”

Earnhardt Jr. on his favorite part: “Where they’re in the car and the motor blows, he breaks the motor on purpose…and that might be from a rumor. Tim Richmond’s last race in Michigan he broke the motor, and the thought was that he might have done it on purpose. It was his very last race ever…any kind of moment like that in the movie, is derived from a rumor or story or a tale of NASCAR’s real history.”

Produced on-site at Dirty Mo Media Studios in Mooresville, N.C., the Dale Jr. Download on NBCSN takes viewers couch-side for the taping of the motorsports icon’s weekly podcast, featuring unparalleled perspective, candid commentary, and insight that fans have come to expect from Dale Jr.


The official home of the NASCAR Playoffs, NBC Sports will present the final 20 Monster Energy NASCAR Cup Series races, final 19 NASCAR Xfinity Series races, and select NASCAR Regional & Touring Series events in 2019. NBC Sports’ NASCAR programming also includes NBCSN’s daily motorsports show NASCAR America, coverage of NASCAR’s Awards Ceremonies, the annual NASCAR Hall of Fame induction ceremony, as well as original programming specials. For more information about NBC Sports Group shows and properties, including press releases, photos, talent and executive bios and headshots, please visit