BROOKLYN, Michigan - Austin Dillon and the No. 3 Bass Pro Shops Chevrolet team earned their second consecutive NASCAR Camping World Truck Series pole position Saturday morning at Michigan International Speedway, ran strong throughout the VFW 200,...
BROOKLYN, Michigan - Austin Dillon and the No. 3 Bass Pro Shops Chevrolet team earned their second consecutive NASCAR Camping World Truck Series pole position Saturday morning at Michigan International Speedway, ran strong throughout the VFW 200, dealt with adversity on pit road toward the end and still took home a strong fifth-place finish.
Dillon and the No. 3 team remain in 11th place in the 2010 NASCAR Camping World Truck Series point standings but tightened the gap between the drivers directly ahead of them. He is now just 5 points behind Matt Crafton in 10th, 14 points behind Ricky Carmichael in ninth, 39 behind David Starr in eighth, 52 behind Jason White in seventh and 86 behind Johnny Sauter in fifth place.
The Lewisville, N.C., native was the 14th of 36 drivers to attempt a qualifying run Saturday morning. The Bass Pro Shops Chevrolet ran a quick lap of 40.796 seconds at 176.488 mph on the two-mile oval. The run was 0.133-of-a-second quicker than Ron Hornaday, Jr.
The No. 3 Bass Pro Shops Chevrolet led the field to the green flag for the second consecutive weekend. Hornaday led the first lap and Dillon dropped to fourth by the time the first of the day's five caution flags slowed the field on lap five. Green flag racing resumed on lap eight but went back under caution just four laps later. Crew chief Danny Stockman called Dillon down pit road on lap 13 for a fuel-only stop and, due to a group of drivers staying on the track, the No. 3 truck restarted in the ninth spot on lap 19.
Dillon took the top spot on lap 21 and lead for the next 14 circuits. He was leading on lap 35 when rain showers forced NASCAR to wave the red flag to halt the event. The yellow flag was brought out after a 40-minute delay and the field ran a number of laps under caution, with Dillon leading laps 40 and 41, before going green again on lap 42. It then became a three-truck race at the front with Kyle Busch, Todd Bodine and Dillon. It was Bodine, Busch and Dillon at the race's halfway point, on lap 50, and stayed that way until Hornaday got by Dillon on lap 67.
Green-flag pit stops began on lap 75 and Dillon led lap 77 before pitting a lap later. Unfortunately, the team was hit with a stop-and-go penalty when NASCAR determined the No. 3 truck left the pit box with the fuel can still attached. The unfortunate call dropped Dillon to 17th in the running order. Two more cautions late in the race kept Dillon from advancing in the order and was 16th when the green flag waved to start the eight-lap dash to the checkered flag.
Dillon was more than determined to make up as much ground as possible in the final laps. He diced and sliced, went four-wide at least once and roared his way to fifth place at the finish.
Aric Almirola earned his second victory of the 2010 NASCAR Camping World Truck Series season. He beat Todd Bodine to the checkered flag by 0.111-of-a-second. Kyle Busch, Hornaday, and Dillon were the other top-five finishers. Dillon's fellow rookie-of-the-year contenders Justin Lofton, Jennifer Jo Cobb, and Brett Butler finished 18th, 21st, and 24th, respectively.
The NASCAR Camping World Truck Series takes the next two weekends off before heading to Iowa Speedway.
"They know we're here so it's just a matter of time. We had a great Bass Pro Shops truck at Texas and a great one again this weekend. We're building great trucks this year at RCR and ECR is putting great motors behind us. I just want to get 'em that win. Before Texas, I would have been happy with a top-10 finish. Getting a top-three and leading just makes you want it that much more. Danny Stockman and the guys have done a great job putting great trucks under me all year. I can't say enough about the Bass Pro Shops Chevrolet and ECR Engines. It was cool running back up through the field at the end of the race. Went four-wide, dicing and slicing and everything and it was good to get a top-five finish."