Austin Dillon Survives Late-Race Melee, Wins Subway Firecracker 250by Kyle Pokrefky July 5, 2015 0 comments
DAYTONA BEACH, Fla. — Emerging unscathed from a Lap 96 crash that took out several dominant cars at Daytona International Speedway late on Independence Day, Austin Dillon sailed away to victory in the Subway Firecracker 250.
Dillon earned his third XFINITY Series victory of the season after leading nine laps and finding his way around two different cautions to claim his fifth career series victory and what he called his ‘favorite win of his career’ in victory lane.
“We got to go to victory lane with a bunch of RCR cars and there were a lot of special moments [growing up],” Dillon said in his post-race media availability. “My grandfather said when I was growing up young that ‘one day, you might have this opportunity and when it gets there, you’ve got to take advantage of it’ and he always gave me confidence, and I will say that that’s always been kind of bred into me.
“I thank him for that and this opportunity and I’m glad that he’s getting to be here with me and I’m excited about the win, it makes me really happy.”
Coming across the finish line in the top-10 behind Dillon were Elliott Sadler, Chase Elliott, Kasey Kahne, Benny Gordon, David Ragan, Dakoda Armstrong, Erik Jones, Harrison Rhodes and Ross Chastain with Rhodes being the last driver scored on the lead lap.
With his third-place finish, Elliott moved into second in the points standings heading into next Friday’s Kentucky 300 at Kentucky Speedway. Still leading the points entering next Friday’s race is Chris Buescher, who will take a 34-point lead into Kentucky.
“I’m very excited to finish third tonight,” Elliott said. “Daytona and Talladega haven’t been very good to us – really this year or last year. I’m happy to have a decent finish and bring a car home that’s not completely torn up.
“I didn’t do anything special to miss those wrecks, I just had a decent spot and things kind of cleaned themselves out. Unfortunately, I haven’t been on that end very much here – especially in February. It was good to miss a couple of things tonight and get a top-five.”
Scott led the most laps of the race with a total of 84 laps led to his credit, but was taken out on the final caution after attempting to block a hard-charging Sadler with a move that sent both drivers into the wall.
The late wreck was the second of two ‘big ones’ during the course of the night with the first occurring on Lap 92 on the frontstretch with drivers such as Brennan Poole, Daniel Suarez, Buescher, Aric Almirola and Darrell Wallace Jr. being involved. The red flag was waved following the wreck with cars being parked on track for just over 10 minutes.
Entering next Friday’s Kentucky 300, as Buescher will take a 34-point lead over Elliott into the 16th race of the season, Team Penske’s No. 22 team will take a 29-point lead over Buescher’s No. 60 car into Kentucky in the owners’ standings.
Top-10 Finishers of the Subway Firecracker 250
- 33 – Austin Dillon(i) – Chevrolet – Richard Childress Racing
- 1 – Elliott Sadler – Ford – Roush Fenway Racing
- 9 – Chase Elliott – Chevrolet – JR Motorsports
- 88 – Kasey Kahne(i) – Chevrolet – JR Motorsports
- 66 – Benny Gordon – Toyota – PEG Racing
- 20 – David Ragan(i) – Toyota – Joe Gibbs Racing
- 43 – Dakoda Armstrong – Ford – Richard Petty Motorsports
- 54 – Erik Jones(i) – Toyota – Joe Gibbs Racing
- 0 – Harrison Rhodes# – Chevrolet – JD Motorsports
- 4 – Ross Chastain# – Chevrolet – JD Motorsports
Top-10 in the Drivers Standings after Round 15 of 33
- 60 – Chris Buescher – Roush Fenway Racing – 560 | Leader
- 9 – Chase Elliott – JR Motorsports – 526 | -34
- 3 – Ty Dillon – Richard Childress Racing – 517 | -43
- 7 – Regan Smith – JR Motorsports – 493 | -67
- 1 – Elliott Sadler – Roush Fenway Racing – 489 | -71
- 6 – Darrell Wallace Jr.# – Roush Fenway Racing – 472 | -88
- 2 – Brian Scott – Richard Childress Racing – 453 | -107
- 16 – Ryan Reed – Roush Fenway Racing – 441 | -119
- 62 – Brendan Gaughan – Richard Childress Racing – 438 | -122
- 18 – Daniel Suarez# – Joe Gibbs Racing – 437 | -123
# = Rookie, (i) = Ineligible for NASCAR XFINITY Series points
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PHOTO CREDIT: Sarah Crabill/NASCAR via Getty Images