Austin Dillon Wins Food City 300 At Bristol After Leaders Have Trouble In Closing Lapsby Camille Jones August 19, 2016
BRISTOL, Tenn. – Austin Dillon took home a surprise victory in NASCAR Overtime after a tight battle for the top position took dominant race leaders out of contention in Friday night’s Food City 300 at Bristol Motor Speedway.
Dillon, the driver of the Richard Childress Racing No. 2 Rheem Chevrolet Camaro only led the final four of the 308 total laps raced to capture his second victory of the season in the NASCAR XFINITY Series. He won at Auto Club Speedway Back in March. Friday Night’s win marks his first at Bristol Motor Speedway, as well as his 12th top-10 finish of the season.
“First of all, I’d like to say hats off to Bristol for really doing their job to try and make this race as good as possible,” Dillon said. “It really was. I feel like the fans had to love it.”
Austin Dillon continued and said, “It ended up being a race on the bottom. Those last two restarts I felt like the good cars were there. I’m proud of Justin Alexander (crew chief). This is his first win in the XFINITY Series. It’s our first win together, and it’s our first race together, so that’s a great way to start.”
Finishing in the second position was Justin Allgaier, driver of the No. 7 Brandt Chevrolet Camaro. Allgaier accepted that his car may not have been the fastest on the track, but he was focused on finishing the race with all four fenders on the car. The runner-up finish was Allgaier’s 18th top-10 of the 2016 NASCAR XFINITY Series season.
Kyle Larson, driver of the No. 42 ENEOS Chevrolet Camaro, was forced to settle for the third position after leading 200 laps throughout the night. On the final restart, Larson was shuffled back into the field from the front row before claiming the final top-3 spot. Larson now has sixth career top-10 finish in seven races at Bristol Motor Speedway.
The Food City 300 was scheduled for 300 laps around the half-mile, high-banked oval, but with multiple cautions in the final 100 laps, the race ended in NASCAR Overtime with 308 laps recorded.
What seemed like a promising day for the Joe Gibbs Racing team, comprised of Kyle Busch, Erik Jones and Daniel Suarez, ended with three damaged cars.
On lap 245, Erik Jones, driver of the No. 20 Reser’s Main Street Bistro Toyota Camry, made contact with his teammate, Daniel Suarez, driver of the No. 19 ARRIS Toyota Camry, sending both of drivers crashing hard into the outside wall. Jones led 31 laps of the race before finishing in the 33rd position. Suarez finished 30th.
“I just made a mistake,” Jones. “I basically turned the 19 (Daniel Suarez). It’s unfortunate, I feel bad for Daniel and I feel bad for this team and my guys. The Reser’s Camry was really good and it deserved a good finish and was probably good enough to win. I just threw it away on that restart and tried to make too much happen too quick. Just trying to get back in line behind them before the others got there and I wasn’t clear. Just mad at myself.”
Kyle Busch, driver of the No. 18 Tunity Toyota Camry, suffered a similar fate by the end of the race. While making a pass in an exciting battle for the lead Kyle Busch was sent into the outside wall after not clearing Brad Keselowski. Busch bounced off the wall, and with nowhere to go, Austin Dillon slammed into the back of him. The crash resulted in a 24th place finish for Kyle Busch and a 25th place finish for Ty Dillon.
“Kyle (Busch) is of course real good at this track and he was quite a bit faster,” Keselowki said. “I was just trying to hold him off anyway I could. He got a good run on the bottom and the bottom groove was just a little bit faster in one and two than it was in three and four. He knew that and made a really smart move and got up next to me, but I had a big run on exit and he wasn’t quite clear. I knew he needed to come up because three and four, like I said, the bottom groove wasn’t as good. He knew he needed to come up and there just wasn’t enough room. I was already there and it clipped him in the right-rear. I don’t really know what happened from there, but it was tough. We were battling really hard and definitely didn’t want to see it end that way.”
Under the caution, Brad Keselowski ran out of fuel and finished the race in the 12th position. Keselowski led 67 laps throughout the race.
“I guess we had enough gas, but running under yellow it doesn’t pick it up so it ran out and once it runs out these cars don’t have all of the fuel-injection stuff and it just stops,” Keselowski said.
After 22 races in the NASCAR XFINITY Series this season, Elliott Sadler leads the championship point standings by 51 over Daniel Suarez. With the second place finish on Friday, Justin Allgaier jumps up to third in the standings, 52 points back.
The NASCAR XFINITY Series returns to competition at Road America for the Road America 180 Fired up by Johnsonville on Saturday, August 27. 3 p.m. ET. Live overage will be found on the NBC Sports Network (NBCSN) and the Motor Racing Network (MRN) at 3 p.m. ET.
Photo Credit: Tyler Goodson