The fan-favourite closed out the 2015 campaign with five straight top-5 finishes - punctuated by two victories - that helped to establish Bentley's position as a potential championship contender.
"I don't mind admitting that we have some high expectations entering this season," smirks Bentley. "We dedicated a lot of our year in 2015 to learning as much as we can about which setups work and which ones don't. Our notebook is a lot thicker now than it's ever been"
After a remarkably strong finish to his 2015 season, Bentley is eager to return to action at Sunset for the speedway's April 30th opener - with hopes of placing his family-run team at the top of the division's points standings early.
"As good as we were at the end of last year, I didn't want to stop," says Bentley. "We found our rhythm and got into a groove where it felt like we were getting faster every time we hit the track. Every practice, every heat and every feature felt better"
"Now, it's our job to get that momentum back. A big run on opening night will put us back in that mind frame"
With a number of solid seasons to his credit, Bentley's CGL Manufacturing-sponsored outfit feels ready to clinch their first career Sunset Speedway championship.
"We've had a really good car the last three seasons, but something always seems to come up to keep us from making a run at a championship," explains the second-generation driver.
"This is something that I want more than anything else in racing. I've been fortunate enough to win some really big races, but I would trade them all for a Sunset championship. That's where our focus is at this season"
And while his 2016 debut might bring with it an elevated level of attention, Bentley insists it does little to deter his focus.
"It's a huge compliment to be one of the guys that everyone is watching out for," shrugs Bentley, "but it doesn't bother me at all"
"Because, no matter what, no one can put more pressure on me than I put on myself. I want to win so badly and perform at my best, that if I don't it eats me up all week. 2016 is all about realizing our potential in this division."
Matt Bentley's 2016 efforts are supported by CGL Manufacturing, ThringCo., Streamline Race Products, Creative Edge and Bentley Motorsports.
By Spencer Lewis (@itsspencerlewis)