If you spend too much time on social media, you might think that we are on the cusp of the next civil war. Agreeing to disagree appears to be a thing of the past, as is the golden rule, and the old adage, “If you can’t say something nice, don’t say anything at all,” seems to pretty much be a fairy tale.
But once in a while, a shimmer of humanity shines through, a glimpse of grace, a gesture of measurable kindness that has an immeasurable impact, a moment of doing the right thing because it’s the right thing to do.
It couldn’t have been easy for young Matt DiBenedetto, driver of the No. 32 Go Fas Racing Ford Fusion, to go online and ask for help, but he did it.
Matt posted a video on Twitter March 6 and humbly explained that he was without a sponsor for the race and, although it was short notice, he had opportunities available for the race at ISM Raceway.
“Fans are the whole reason I have made it to where I am today,” he said. He also admitted that it was a “last second effort, but you never know until you try.”
The lesson is, never underestimate the power, passion and support of the NASCAR community because, good googly-moogly, he asked and fans answered.
Matt’s timeline was quickly filled with fan responses tagging potential corporate sponsors for his car. But that wasn’t enough. They also started a GoFundMe campaign where individual fans could donate money to get this 28-year-old driver the funding he needed.
And then, Matt’s fellow drivers — current and former — chimed in!
Darrell Waltrip kicked in $5,000, boogity-boogity-boogity!
And so did Kevin Harvick.
And then, Denny Hamlin, the driver that “By The Flag” reported might be the most hated in NASCAR, kicked in his share of cash. And as much as we’re sure Matt is grateful for the monetary support, it is Denny’s words that are making our hearts feel pretty good about being NASCAR fans. He tweeted, “Very good driver here that deserves being on the track. Any company would be represented well on his car.”
Sounds like a pretty decent dude to us.
It isn’t unheard of for a driver to hit the track without a sponsor. Kurt Busch did it in 2012 in a Ricky Bobby (“Talladega Nights”) inspired car.
Props, hats off and a standing ovation goes out to the NASCAR community, which is coming together for the health and betterment of its sport and presenting such a shining example of doing the right thing.
And best of luck to all of the teams this weekend in Phoenix. Safe and speedy driving.