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Daytona Rookie Report: Dillon Standing Tall with a Top-Five

Daytona Rookie Report: Dillon Standing Tall with a Top-Five

by July 8, 2014 0 comments

Photo by Will Schneekloth/Getty Images

DAYTONA BEACH, Fla. — There must be something in the waters of Daytona Beach that makes Austin Dillon (Richard Childress Racing) such a strong threat at the Daytona International Speedway.

For the first time this year, Dillon has finished in a race in the top-five with his fifth-place result in the Coke Zero 400. The result not only gives the rookie his first top-10 since February’s Daytona 500, but it also made the driver of the No. 3 Bass Pro Shops Chevrolet the highest-finishing rookie of the rain-shortened 400.

Dillon would successfully navigate through two major wrecks throughout the 112 laps of racing action; what started off looking like a run in the mid-20s turned into a solid top-10 run by Lap 100. Alex Bowman (BK Racing) would dodge both wrecks as well and would turn in a career best 13th-place finish. Both Dillon and Bowman would be the only two rookies who would finish on the lead lap of the race.

Kyle Larson (Chip Ganassi Racing), the current leader in the rookie standings, would be the lowest-finishing rookie of the race after being caught up in the first of the two major accidents to occur during the race. Larson would complete 69 laps before retiring with a 36th-place finish. Larson would be the only rookie to be involved in the Lap 21 crash that would involve 15 other cars in some capacity.

Every single rookie save for Dillon and the retired Larson would find themselves involved in the second ‘big one’ of the day on Lap 99 in one way or another. Bowman would be involved in the accident but would escape with a drivable race car – his BK Racing teammates, Cole Whitt and Ryan Truex, on the other hand, were not as lucky. Whitt and Truex would retire early after completing 97 laps in their BK Racing Toyotas in the 34th and 32nd positions, respectively.

Justin Allgaier (HScott Motorsports) would be able to complete one more lap than both Whitt and Truex in his No. 51 AccuDoc Solutions Chevrolet. The extra lap turned in by the Riverton, Illinois native would move him up to 25th-place in the final standings of the race.

Michael Annett (Tommy Baldwin Racing) would soldier on despite taking damage during the final wreck of the day, finishing in the 21st position – eight laps off of the lead. Even with a car that was well off the pace, Annett came three positions away from replicating his lead-lap finish at Kentucky last week.

The NASCAR Sprint Cup Series’ rookie class of 2014 head to New Hampshire Motor Speedway for their first visit of the year to the one-mile ‘flat’ track. New Hampshire has been kind to Sprint Cup rookies in the past, providing Ryan Newman (Richard Childress Racing) and Joey Logano (Team Penske) wins in their rookie seasons. Larson will take a 15-point lead over Dillon in the rookie standings to the 19th race of the year.

Sprint Cup Series Rookie Standings after Round 18 of 36

  1. 42 – Kyle Larson – Chevrolet – Chip Ganassi Racing – 200 | Leader
  2. 3 – Austin Dillon – Chevrolet – Richard Childress Racing – 185 | -15
  3. 51 – Justin Allgaier – Chevrolet – HScott Motorsports – 142 | -58
  4. 7 – Michael Annett – Chevrolet – Tommy Baldwin Racing – 135 | -65
  5. 26 – Cole Whitt – Toyota – BK Racing – 131 | -69
  6. 23 – Alex Bowman – Toyota – BK Racing – 118 | -82
  7. 83 – Ryan Truex – Toyota – BK Racing – 90 | -110
  8. — – Parker Kligerman – — – — – 41 | -159

 

Kyle Pokrefky
Follow Kyle Pokrefky on Twitter at @KPokrefky

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