Austin Dillon Earns Eighth Consecutive Top-Ten Finish DARLINGTON, S.C. (August 14, 2010) --A lack of experience at Darlington Raceway didn't seem to hinder Raybestos Rookie contender Austin Dillon on Saturday. The 20-year-old High Point...
Austin Dillon Earns Eighth Consecutive Top-Ten Finish
DARLINGTON, S.C. (August 14, 2010) --A lack of experience at Darlington Raceway didn't seem to hinder Raybestos Rookie contender Austin Dillon on Saturday. The 20-year-old High Point University student recovered from a lap-10 on-track incident in the Too Tough to Tame 200 at Darlington Raceway to lead laps and finish fifth in Richard Childress Racing's No. 3 Bass Pro Shops Chevrolet.
Dillon, who has not finished worse than seventh in the last eight races, remains fifth in the 2010 NASCAR Camping World Truck Series points race, and leads the Raybestos Rookies of the Year standings. Over the last six races, Dillon has amassed more points than any other driver in the series.
Dillon learned his way around the 1.366-mile Darlington Raceway quickly, posting the fastest speeds overall in each of Saturday's two practice sessions.
During qualifying on Saturday afternoon, Dillon circled the egg-shaped oval in 29.034 seconds at a speed of 169.374 mph, placing him ninth for Saturday evening's 200-miler.
Rather than taking an aggressive approach at a track that he has never raced at, Dillon took his time at the drop of the green flag, cautiously testing his No. 3 Bass Pro Shops Chevrolet to see how hard he could run it, while still maintaining his top-10 position.
However, on lap eight of 147, Dillon was driving into turn one when another competitor dove underneath him, got loose, and slid up the racetrack, causing Dillon to scrape the wall in turns one and two.
With a fear of a right-side tire rub, crew chief Danny Stockman directed Dillon down pit road during the ensuing caution period. The Bass Pro Shops team serviced the black No. 3 with right-side tires and pulled the right-side fenders away from the tires. Dillon was able to restart the race in 33rd position on lap 12.
The challenge of working his way through the field proved to be a minor set-back for Dillon, as he was recorded in 20th position on lap 15, 18th on lap 18, and had worked his way to 16th by lap 28.
The team took advantage of a lap-45 caution for debris to pit for four tires and a right-rear air pressure adjustment. Another quick stop by the Bass Pro Shops team allowed Dillon to gain three positions in the pits, and he restarted 13th on lap 50.
The changes made during the pit stop positively affected the handling of the No. 3 Bass Pro Shops Chevrolet. However, Dillon noted that it was still quite difficult to pass, as damage from the lap-eight incident had affected the down force of the truck, especially in turns one and two.
Dillon was running 11th when the caution flag was displayed on lap 75. While most of the field chose to pit for four tires and fuel at this time, Stockman made the call to gamble with a fuel-only pit stop. As a result, Dillon restarted the race in the point position on lap 80.
The black No. 3 fared well in the lead, and Dillon began to drive away from his nearest competitor with nothing but clean air around him. Dillon's 21-lap stint as the race leader allowed him to gain five valuable bonus points in the championship point standings.
The caution flag was displayed on lap 97 for a turn-four incident. With the knowledge that Dillon would be unable to complete the race without another pit stop for fuel, the team chose to pit for four tires and fuel. However, only two other teams made the same call and Dillon restarted 13th on the lap-103 restart.
With four fresh Goodyear tires on the No. 3 Bass Pro Shops Chevrolet, Dillon continued his forward assent through the field, and was scored in the seventh position by lap 109. He had worked his way to sixth by lap 126. Dillon made a pass for fifth on lap 128, and maintained position for the remainder of the race.
Todd Bodine earned his third NCWTS victory of 2010, while Timothy Peters finished second. Ron Hornaday, Johhny Sauter and Dillon rounded out the top-five.
The next NASCAR Camping World Truck Series race is the O'Reilly 200 at Bristol Motor Speedway on Wednesday, August 18.
AUSTIN DILLON QUOTE:
"It feels good to pull off a good finish at a tough track like Darlington. Although, it was definitely a rough start, I don't know what happened with me and Jason [White]. I thought I gave him plenty of room as we were racing into turn one, but I guess he got loose under me. That was unfortunate, but the guys did a great job repairing the right-rear fender and getting the No. 3 Bass Pro Shops Chevrolet back on track. Later in the race, Danny made a great call for track position, taking fuel only, and that put us in the lead. The truck was good out front. I think anyone could have run out front in clean air, but it was definitely tough to run in the middle of the pack in dirty air. I think if the race was a few laps longer we would have been in position to win because we were fine on fuel and everyone else was running low."