Las Vegas: Austin Dillon race report

Dillon Breaks Records, Earns Second Win of Season at Las Vegas LAS VEGAS, Nevada (September 25, 2010) -Austin Dillon and Richard Childress Racing's No. 3 Bass Pro Shops team produced a dominating performance at Las Vegas Motor Speedway on ...

Dillon Breaks Records, Earns Second Win of Season at Las Vegas

LAS VEGAS, Nevada (September 25, 2010) -Austin Dillon and Richard Childress Racing's No. 3 Bass Pro Shops team produced a dominating performance at Las Vegas Motor Speedway on Saturday, earning the pole, leading 93 of 146 laps and winning the Smith's Food and Drug Stores 350 by the largest margin of victory in 14 NASCAR Camping World Truck Series races at the 1.5-mile oval. The Bass Pro Shops team's dominating win on Saturday made Dillon the first rookie since 2003 to earn multiple wins, while the pole award allowed him to break the record for most pole awards by a rookie competitor in the series' history.

With 12 top-10 finishes in the last 13 races, Dillon has gone from 14th to fourth in the point standings with five races remaining this season. He leads the Raybestos Rookie of the Year standings.

A lack of experience at the 1.5-mile Las Vegas, Nevada-based facility did not seem to hinder Dillon this weekend, as the 20-year-old High Point University sophomore posted the quickest time during just his second lap on the track during Saturday's first practice session. He ended first practice at the top of the charts, and was second at the conclusion of final practice.

Because he posted the quickest speed overall during practice, Dillon was the last truck to make a qualifying run on Saturday afternoon. Although the series allows teams to make two laps during qualifying, Dillon only utilized one, as his first lap was quick enough for the pole position.

Starting on the inside of row one in front of an estimated 37,000 race fans, Dillon jumped to a commanding lead at the start of the race, distancing himself from his nearest competitor by as much as 20 truck lengths until pitting for four tires and fuel when the second of seven caution flags was displayed on lap 21.

When green-flag racing resumed on lap 26, Dillon was scored in the eighth position, as several teams opted to pit for two tires versus four. However, it did not take Dillon long to make his way back to the front of the field. He was scored in fourth position within one lap of the restart, and raced anywhere from third to sixth as he fought a loose condition over the next 36 laps.

Dillon was running fourth when the caution flag was displayed on lap 61, prompting Stockman to direct Dillon back down pit road for one can of fuel and a track bar adjustment. He restarted fifth on lap 64, and worked his way up to third on lap 65 before making a pass for second on lap 66. Four laps later, Dillon made a pass for the lead under green-flag conditions and, with clean air in front of him, began to distance himself from his competitors, leading by as much as six seconds.

The fifth caution flag of the race was displayed on lap 96, and Dillon pitted during the ensuing caution for four tires and one can of fuel. Quick work by the RCR team allowed Dillon to restart in the first position. However, on the lap-100 restart, Dillon relinquished the lead, dropping back to fourth before working his way back into the lead within five laps.

The caution flag was displayed again on lap 108, and once again Dillon was shuffled back in the running order on the restart, dropping to second before working his way into the lead one lap later. However, when the last caution flag of the night was displayed on lap 118, Dillon chose to restart on the outside line, and was able to hold position on the racetrack for the final restart of the night.

With a 26-lap, green-flag run to the checkered flag, Dillon was able to pull away from his competitors, winning by 5.558 seconds. Johnny Sauter finished second, followed by James Buescher, Todd Bodine and Matt Crafton.

AUSTIN DILLON:

Have you had the chance to talk to your grandfather or your father following this victory? What does it mean to them? "My grandfather and my dad had a very rough week. I think it was the roughest week for my dad's career at RCR, and probably one of the roughest weeks since Earnhardt. To come out and win means a lot. I talked to them early in the week when all of this was going down and they were having a meeting. I walked in and, after the meeting, he sat down and talked to me and said 'man, you have to go out and win this race for me out here'. To come out here and do it is pretty awesome. You dream about stuff like this, and when it comes true it's great. Now, I hope the Cup guys can go out and finish off the weekend with a win, and prove to everyone that Clint Bowyer was legal. We'll go at it every week like we always do. RCR is a great company. I can't say enough about them. They work hard every week and for somebody to come out and say the things they have, it makes you mad. It makes you want to go win and keeps you fired up. We want to go win races as much as anybody does, so I don't know if you can ever say anything bad about a company if you're not a part of them."

What was the biggest challenge this weekend? "The temperature was difficult to watch all day. It changed from the morning practice, where I didn't know what we could do to make the truck better. During the second practice, we really struggled, actually. I think we got tight and I was a little worried about it. Danny made a good change to come off of where we were in the first practice, and it's tough to do that when you're so good early. It's tough to change what you have to get better. He did it, and we stuck with our plans when it came to qualifying and race trim. When we fired off there, I was a little bit loose late in exiting the corners, just because you're carrying so much speed, its easy to get snappy loose if you get behind trucks. We made one track bar adjustment, some air pressure adjustments and just set sale from there."

Talk about your truck, and your season. "My crew chief, Danny Stockman, has been on the guys in the shop that has really been preparing the trucks. Everything starts there in the shop. When you can come to the track and unload fast -this is a track I have never been to -it just shows how much Danny and the guys have been doing to make these trucks good. We made mistakes at the beginning of the year, and now we're finally getting to the point where we think we can run with the top guys and we're showing it. It's been an awesome year and I can't thank everybody enough- my family, RCR, the Lord and Danny Stockman - for joining our team and taking a chance with a rookie driver. He was a championship truck chief at KHI and he came over here and took a chance on me."

Does this win mean more than your first NCWTS win at Iowa? "All wins are awesome, so I don't know if there is a sweeter one or not. This one was cool because I had never seen the track before. I've been here a long time ago when the track was older, they hadn't really repaved it, with my little brother. We used to come celebrate his birthday out here sometimes. I don't really remember much about it, so when we showed up here at the track this morning I took a rental car ride around the track and that's all we really needed to learn the track. The truck was so good in practice that we were running laps that I felt were going to be good for the race run. It was awesome. Danny did a good job and I just had to go and finish it off."

The NCWTS has three weeks off before the next race. What will you do during that time to keep momentum? "I'm going to go run some dirt races. I want to go hang out and do some of the things I love to do when I'm not asphalt racing, that's running sideways, wide-open, with 800 horsepower."

DANNY STOCKMAN, CREW CHIEF:

You used to work in Vegas. What does it mean to come back here and win? "It's definitely pretty awesome to come here to Vegas, a place I used to live, and win. I spent four years out here. I worked for Brendan Gaughan in my early 20s. We used to come to this racetrack and workout every morning at 6 a.m. I've spent a lot of time here so it's just really awesome to come to Vegas, a place I used to call home, and dominate a race like this one. We sat on the pole and won. Austin Dillon is just an amazing racecar driver. The team we have, we have built from the ground up at RCR and I just want to thank Richard Childress and Mike Dillon, and all of the people over there for giving me this opportunity.

The team seems to have made great strides since Charlotte race weekend in May. What has changed? "This sport is a business that is just very tough, physically and mentally. It will chew you up and spit you out in a heart beat. You just have to keep digging if you want to be competitive. We sat the guys down at the shop and had a really uplifting meeting about not beating ourselves and that is what it takes to win these races. We can't beat ourselves. I tell Austin, half of the battle is making these trucks fast but there are a lot of other things you have to do to prepare and to make sure that everything is going to go right. These races are so short that you can't mess up. You mess up one time on a pit call and you just aren't going to be able to win. That Charlotte deal was a really bad deal, but everybody came together and we've been digging really hard since then. It's just been a fun deal."

-source: rcr

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Series NASCAR Truck
Drivers Todd Bodine , Matt Crafton , Johnny Sauter , Brendan Gaughan , Clint Bowyer , James Buescher , Austin Dillon