Austin Dillon Wins Big In Texas, Snaps 88-Race Winless Streakby Hunter Thomas July 19, 2020 0 comments
FORT WORTH, Tex. – Austin Dillon snapped an 88-race winless streak on Sunday as he held of his Richard Childress Racing teammate, Tyler Reddick to win the O’Reilly Auto Parts 500 at Texas Motor Speedway.
During the final round of pit stops on Sunday, it was Richard Childress Racing’s Reddick and Dillon leading the field off pit road thanks to their team’s pit strategy. Reddick departed from his pit stall with no fresh tires, and Dillon’s crew put two new tires on his No. 3 Bass Pro Shops/Tracker Off Road Chevrolet.
On the restart, it was Reddick in the No. 8 Cat Oil & Gas Chevrolet who led the field to the green with just over 20 laps to go. A multicar crash in Turn 4 set the field up for another restart, and this time however, it was Dillon leading the field to the green flag. Dillon and Reddick gapped the rest of the top-five due to drivers battling for position. Just as it appeared that Dillon was going to cruise to victory, Denny Hamlin slid up the track in Turn 2 and into Alex Bowman, setting the field up for another restart.
Once again, it was the two Richard Childress Racing drivers battling up front for the lead, but the final yellow flag of the afternoon flew, when Denny Hamlin spun through the frontstretch grass.
On the green-white-checkered restart, Dillon launched out in front of the pack and held on to win his first race of the season and the third of his NASCAR Cup Series career. Dillon hadn’t won a series race since the 2018 Daytona 500.
“Not bad for a silver spoon kid, right,” Dillon said. “I’ll take that. Have to thank everyone at RCR, ECR, Bass Pro Shops. Tyler Reddick, he raced me clean. 1-2 for RCR – this has been coming. We’ve had good cars all year. Justin Alexander and my whole crew. I got my baby Ace back home and my wife, I love them so much. I’m just so happy – thank god.”
The win also marked Dillon’s first top-five and fourth top-10 finish of the season. Richard Childress Racing now has 109 series victories.
As for Reddick, he held on for a runner-up finish, earning his first ever top-five in 19 NASCAR Cup Series starts. The 24-year-old entered the afternoon well below the Playoff cutline, but with the solid finish, Reddick is now only 12 points behind William Byron for the 16th position in the series standings.
“My crew chief, Randall Burnett, made a great call to take fuel only during the caution with about 30 laps to go and that put us up front for those final restarts with our teammate, Austin Dillon,” Reddick said. “We really couldn’t ask for much more than what we got today. One spot better would have been great, but the recovery this No. 8 Cat Oil and Gas team made today was huge. We’re racing for the big picture of making the playoffs, so we have to race smart. Days like this will help us get there.”
Joey Logano finished third after a long, fierce battle with Kyle Busch who finished fourth. Kevin Harvick rounded out the top-five. Erik Jones finished sixth, followed by Ryan Blaney, Kurt Busch, Brad Keselowski and Aric Almirola.
There were 29 lead changes among 12 drivers. Blaney, who led a race high of 150 laps, swept both, Stages 1 and 2.
There were 10 cautions for 45 laps throughout the afternoon. The red flag was displayed for 11 minutes and 29 seconds for a 12-car accident that brought out the caution on lap 220.
As the bottom half of the top-10 battled for the fifth position along the frontstretch, contact from Kurt Busch, sent Almirola into Kyle Busch, who then turned Martin Truex Jr. Kyle Busch plowed through the grass, but Truex wasn’t as lucky as he pounded the outside wall. With nowhere to go, several drivers piled up heading into Turn 1.
Harvick continues to lead the series standings. Blaney trails by 91 points.
The NASCAR Cup Series will visit Kansas Speedway on Thursday, July 23 for the Super Start Batteries 400 Presented by O’Reilly Auto Parts. Live coverage of the race will broadcast on the NBC Sports Network (NBCSN) and the Motor Racing Network (MRN) at 7:30 p.m. ET.
Photo Credit: Brian Lawdermilk/Getty Images