Austin Dillon Earns Sixth Consecutive Top-10 Finish in NCWTS LONG POND, Pa. (July 31, 2010) --This weekend's Pocono Mountains 125 NASCAR Camping World Truck Series race at Pocono Raceway marked the series' inaugural appearance at the 2.5-mile ...
Austin Dillon Earns Sixth Consecutive Top-10 Finish in NCWTS
LONG POND, Pa. (July 31, 2010) --This weekend's Pocono Mountains 125 NASCAR Camping World Truck Series race at Pocono Raceway marked the series' inaugural appearance at the 2.5-mile track, but Raybestos Rookie of the Year contender Austin Dillon did not let a lack of experience hinder his performance at the "tricky triangle", earning a seventh-place finish in Richard Childress Racing's No. 3 Bass Pro Shops Chevrolet.
Dillon, who has a total of eight top 10's midway through the 25-race NCWTS schedule, has not finished worse than seventh in the last six consecutive races. The 20-year-old High Point University student leads the Raybestos Rookies of the Year standings and is currently sixth in the driver point standings, just 18 markers in arrears to Matt Crafton in fifth and 263 points shy of Todd Bodine's lead.
For the first time on an oval, the NCWTS implemented multi-truck qualifying at Pocono Raceway. The new qualifying style placed an emphasis on practice sessions, as qualifying order was determined by practice speeds, with the fastest truck from practice on Friday qualifying last on Saturday morning. Dillon quickly proved he was up to the challenge, placing the No. 3 Bass Pro Shops Chevrolet second on the board at the conclusion of first practice, and first at the conclusion of Friday's second and final practice session.
On Saturday morning, Dillon circled the 2.5-mile triangle in 55.715 seconds at a speed of 161.536 mph, placing him fourth on the starting grid for Saturday afternoon's 50-lap shootout.
With just 125 miles of racing scheduled at Pocono Raceway, NCWTS drivers knew that it was imperative to make their way through the starting field quickly and, as a result, the action at the 2.5-mile track was jam-packed from the beginning of the race, with the field racing two- and three-wide at the wave of the green flag.
Dillon settled into race conditions, and was scored anywhere from fourth to eighth in the first half of the race, surviving cautions on laps two and 27 with no damage to the No. 3 Bass Pro Shops Chevrolet. On lap 10 of 50, Dillon reported to crew chief Danny Stockman that the truck was becoming tight.
With just one pit stop needed in the 50-lap race, Stockman and the Bass Pro Shops team had just one chance at maximizing driving conditions for Dillon and the black No. 3. The team took advantage of a lap-27 caution to pit for four tires, one can of fuel and chassis adjustments, and solid work by the Bass Pro Shops team allowed Dillon to restart fourth, gaining two positions on the racetrack.
On the lap-31 restart, fast, side-by-side racing resumed and Dillon found himself in a battle for fifth position with series' veteran Mike Skinner, before settling into sixth on lap 33.
He was running fifth on lap 35, when the caution flag was once again displayed, this time for debris on the racetrack. Restarting fifth on the bottom line of the racetrack, Dillon indicated to his team that the No. 3 Bass Pro Shops Chevrolet seemed to roll better on the bottom of the racetrack, and Dillon was scored in the fourth position shortly thereafter.
With just ten laps remaining in the 50-lap race, a truck spun in front of the No. 3 Bass Pro Shops Chevrolet, and Dillon had to take evasive action to avoid damage. Luckily, his truck was fine and Dillon restarted fourth with just six laps remaining in the race. However, it was not long before Dillon had additional close calls, as the field scrambled for lap-47 and lap-49 multi-truck incidents that occurred right in front of the No. 3 Bass Pro Shops Chevrolet.
The race was extended three laps past the advertised distance to accommodate a green-white-checker finish, and Dillon was able to race his way to a seventh-place finish in the No. 3 Bass Pro Shops Chevrolet. Elliott Sadler earned his career-first NCWTS victory, while Kasey Kahne finished second. Matt Crafton, Aric Almirola and Justin Lofton rounded out the top-five.
The next NASCAR Camping World Truck Series race is the Nashville 200 at Nashville Superspeedway on Saturday, August 7.
"I really like Pocono Raceway. It's a fun track to drive, especially with the three unique turns. It puts more of the driver back into the race, as a good driver can make up a lot of time on the racetrack, more so than having the fastest truck. We earned another top-10 finish, and that's what we need to do in order to keep gaining points."