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Matt DiBenedetto prepares for training at Charlotte Motor Speedway.

Wood Brothers Racing’s Matt DiBenedetto started his very first dirt Midget race on Friday July 9th. He traveled to Airport Raceway in Kansas with fellow NASCAR driver Ryan Ellis and introduced a new sponsor during the dirt race. DiBenedetto has teamed up with fitness and lifestyle brand Barbell Apparel to make their Midget debut possible.

DiBenedetto started the evening strong by winning his first qualifying race. He then headed to the main event to fight for position with Ellis and the other drivers. However, his evening ended prematurely, after the Midget race car tipped over. DiBenedetto completed a few more laps and then left the track.

Before the flip, DiBenedetto presented a white and red race car that mirrored the paint scheme of his Cup Series race. However, the side of No.91 featured a large Barbell Apparel logo, making the company the main sponsor of the race. Ellis also featured the brand on his race car, but with a slightly smaller logo. Kansasland Tire provided the main program for the part-time Xfinity Series driver.

“Being a small business, we wouldn’t be able to get started [NASCAR]Kyle Bundra, athlete director of Barbell Apparel, told Heavy on July 9. “But that opportunity presented itself, and we were like, ‘yes, it makes perfect sense for us to try. to see how it works.

“[The sponsorship] kind of thanks to the relationship I’ve developed with Matt over the years, ”Bundra continued. “He became a client of ours probably three or four years ago, and I just contacted him because I was running customer service at the time. I just contacted him and offered to send him a bunch of stuff.

“He really loves fitness, and you know, NASCAR seems to be a really underserved market for fitness in general. Partnering with Matt seems like a great idea as not many people recognize the athletic ability and fitness of these pilots. “


DiBenedetto puts Barbell Apparel support on full screen

The driver of the Ford Mustang No. 21 Wood Brothers Racing has been a staunch supporter of the clothing company for a long time. He wears their shirts when he lifts or does CrossFit workouts, and he has specially embroidered branded polo shirts he wears before races. DiBenedetto even filmed an advertisement showing his love for the clothing brand, which included burnout and lifting sessions.

“I mean, when I think of a NASCAR driver, I usually think of someone like the size of Christopher Bell or Ricky Stenhouse or Aric Almirola,” Bundra explained. “These guys, they’re all different heights, but they’re very skinny. Their upper body is a bit like the riders of the Peloton Tour de France. Then you have Matt, who looks like a bull in a china store. He’s so built.

Although the relationship between DiBenedetto and Barbell is still relatively new, it should continue to develop. Bundra told Heavy the company is keen to support the NASCAR driver whenever possible because he is “one of the nicest” in professional sports. Although they may not reveal more details in the immediate future.


Running and fitness keep getting closer

While Barbell Apparel Sponsoring Midget Race Car is a big step towards NASCAR collision and fitness, it’s not the only example. CrossFit Mayhem, a Cookeville, TN based gym, recently sponsored a car during the 2021 Pikes Peak International Hill Climb.

Mayhem covered the No. 7 Chevrolet SS owned by Layne Schranz, a 28-year-old and multiple-time winner at Pikes Peak, with a scheme featuring a bald eagle and a stylized American flag. The Alabama pastor / racing driver showcased the design on June 27, finishing second in the Pikes Peak Open division.

Sponsorships of a Midget car and a Pikes Peak race car have brought fitness and racing together, but NASCAR remains for the most part separate. Although Bodyarmor covers the sports drink part of the equation by sponsoring Ryan Blaney of Team Penske. However, Bundra explained that more companies in the fitness space may soon be making the jump to NASCAR’s first three series due to DiBenedetto and some of his fellow drivers becoming more vocal about the subject and their favorite brands.

“I don’t know if you are listening to this podcast [Not Another Racing Podcast], but half are about fitness, ”Bundra said. “I think what Matt and Ryan are doing is probably – more than anything else – what will get companies to join us. Big companies that can be like “hey, maybe [NASCAR] is something we should check out as we realized these guys are really in good shape and they have a voice.

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