Dillon, Bass Pro Shops Team Quick at Loudon Despite 25th-place Finish LOUDON, N.H. (June 26, 2010) -- Despite posting a disappointing 25th-place finish following a challenging pit stop and a series of penalties during Saturday's New England 200...
Dillon, Bass Pro Shops Team Quick at Loudon Despite 25th-place Finish
LOUDON, N.H. (June 26, 2010) -- Despite posting a disappointing 25th-place finish following a challenging pit stop and a series of penalties during Saturday's New England 200 NASCAR Nationwide Series race at New Hampshire Motor Speedway, Richard Childress Racing's No. 21 Bass Pro Shops team and driver Austin Dillon showed that they can be a competitive force in NASCAR's No. 2 tour.
Car owner Richard Childress remains 14th in the NNS Owners' Point Standings, 106 markers in arrears to Michael Waltrip in 13th.
With a break in the NASCAR Camping World Truck Series schedule, fulltime NCWTS driver Dillon joined his Bass Pro Shops team and crew chief Danny Stockman for this weekend's NNS activities at New Hampshire Motor Speedway with a brand new chassis and prior experience at the 1.058-mile oval in the NCWTS and NASCAR K&N Pro Series East division. The 20-year-old Lewisville, N.C., native was fast right off the bat, posting the 11th and 13th-fastest times, respectively, in two scheduled practice sessions on Friday. Still, the team was looking for more and went to work making chassis adjustments so that Dillon would have a fast Chevrolet for Saturday morning's qualifying session.
The changes were successful, as Dillon posted a 29.762 second lap, at a speed of 127.975 mph, around the 1.058-mile oval during qualifying, earning him an eighth-place starting berth for Saturday's 200-lapper.
Starting on the outside of row four in front of an estimated crowd of 40, 000 race fans, Dillon worked with spotter Andy Houston to take the high line around the 1.058-mile track and found himself hovering between eighth and 11th for the first 70 circuits of the 200-mile race.
The Bass Pro Shop Chevrolet was showing competitive lap times during this time and Dillon had no complaints about the handling of the chassis. However, the Bass Pro Shop team's day did not stay trouble-free for long, as a green-flag pit stop on lap 76 for four fresh Goodyear tires and fuel resulted in three NASCAR-issued penalties and brought the team four laps down, to 35th, in the running order.
A NASCAR pit stop is much akin to a high-speed, dangerous acrobatic tight-rope act where choreography is of upmost importance and if one move goes wrong, it affects many others. In this particular case, the jack was not completely placed underneath the left side of the car, preventing the pit crew from bolting on the left-rear tire. When the jack was dropped so that the team could make a second attempt at getting the tire properly positioned, it signaled to the driver that the pit stop was complete and he took off out of the box. Unfortunately, the left-rear tire fell off and the No. 21 Bass Pro Shops Chevrolet came to a stop outside of the pit box. The team immediately went to work fixing the damage but was issued a one-lap penalty for pitting outside the assigned pit box.
When Dillon left pit road, he was issued a second penalty for exiting pit road too quickly, and made a second trip down pit road, where he was again penalized for speeding.
Disheartened, but not broken, Dillon and the Bass Pro Shops team went to work to salvage what they could of the day. Despite the setback, Dillon continued to post competitive lap times. In fact, during the last half of the race, his lap times were comparable to the top-two competitors.
The team pitted two additional times, both under caution, on laps 92 and 148, taking on four tires, fuel and chassis adjustments each time.
Although he was four laps down, Dillon continued to pass cars on the racetrack for position. He was scored in 32nd position on lap 120, 31st on lap 130, 29th on lap 140, 28th on lap 160, 27th on lap 180 and broke into the top 25 by lap 190, where he remained until the checkers dropped on lap 200.
"I was definitely hoping for a better result but this was still a great opportunity so I want to thank my grandfather, Richard Childress, and Bass Pro Shops for the chance to race in the NASCAR Nationwide Series this weekend. I'm glad I was able to participate with my NASCAR Camping World Truck Series crew chief, Danny Stockman, and team. I was really frustrated after the pit stop but that's the way it goes sometimes. If we keep putting good equipment under us, eventually it will all fall into place."