Mechanical Woes Slow Dillon's Progress at Dover Raybestos Rookie of the Year contender Austin Dillon was in position for a top-ten finish in Friday's Dover 200 NASCAR Camping World Truck Series race but mechanical problems with less than ten...
Mechanical Woes Slow Dillon's Progress at Dover
Raybestos Rookie of the Year contender Austin Dillon was in position for a top-ten finish in Friday's Dover 200 NASCAR Camping World Truck Series race but mechanical problems with less than ten laps remaining relegated the No. 3 Bass Pro Shops Chevrolet to a 21st-place finish.
Dillon moved back two spots, to 11th, in the championship standings and currently trails the point leader by 215 markers.
The 20-year-old driver entered the Dover race weekend with one previous NASCAR K&N Pro Series East start at the physically demanding concrete oval, but with no previous NCWTS experience at the track. He began the first of two practice sessions on Thursday with the goal of finding a comfortable line around the "Monster Mile," posting the 18th-fastest time. By the end of a second and final practice session on Thursday, Dillon was sixth on the charts and confident for Friday's 200-lap/200-mile race.
A 23.491 second/153.250 mph lap around the one-mile oval during Friday morning's qualifying session placed Dillon on the outside of row six, in the 12th position, for Friday's Dover 200.
The third-generation racer joined primary sponsor Bass Pro Shops in honoring the legendary Dale Earnhardt and his upcoming induction into the NASCAR Hall of Fame by running a special paint scheme this weekend. Armed with the silhouette of "The Man in Black" on the hood of his Chevrolet Silverado, Dillon began his ascent toward the front of the field in front of an estimated 26,000 race fans.
Working with spotter Andy Houston, Dillon broke into the top ten within ten laps and began to find a comfortable pace around the Dover, Del.-based speed plant. He was running seventh on lap 54 when crew chief Danny Stockman made the call to come down pit road under caution for four fresh Goodyear tires and fuel. The Bass Pro Shops team made three additional pit stops, all under caution, taking on four tires and fuel on laps 86 and 124. Dillon continued to run in the top ten throughout this stage of the race.
The Danny Stockman-led Bass Pro Shops team opted to pit for a fourth and final time on lap 147 after Dillon noted that he was having a difficult time rolling into the center of the corner. The call was made to take on right-side tires only, thereby loosening the black No. 3 Silverado just enough to make a charge during the late stages of the race.
He continued to run well and was scored in the 11th position heading into a lap-176 restart. When the green flag was displayed, Dillon lost several positions on the racetrack and it was quickly determined that the No. 3 Bass Pro Shops Chevrolet had slipped out of gear. Once in race mode, Dillon recovered quickly and was scored in the ninth position with less than ten laps remaining.
The caution flag was displayed again on lap 192 and the Bass Pro Shops crew advised Dillon to hold down the gear shifter on the restart in an effort to avoid any potential problems. Dillon followed directions as advised but when the race resumed on lap 197 the oil pump broke on the No. 3 Chevrolet, creating a loss of oil pressure, fluid loss and a thick train of smoke.
Dillon retired to the garage area as the caution flag was displayed for a tenth and final time, extending the race four laps past the advertised 200-lap distance. He was scored in the 21st position, five laps down, on the final agate.
Aric Almirola earned his career-first NCWTS victory, while James Buescher finished second. Justin Lofton, Ricky Carmichael and Todd Bodine rounded out the top five.
The next NCWTS race is the North Carolina Education Lottery 200 at Charlotte Motor Speedway on Friday, May 21.
AUSTIN DILLON: "Dover is a physically demanding racetrack. This place is wild. They don't call it 'the Monster' for nothing. I learned a lot from first to second practice on Thursday and continued to learn throughout the race. With all of the rubber getting laid down, the track really widened out and it made the racing very good. I hate that we had problems at the end there because I really wanted a top ten finish but I learned a lot. I'm ready for Charlotte."