Austin Dillon finished ninth on Sunday at Talladega Superspeedway, but it wasn’t enough to move on to the next round of the Chase.
Dillon tied Denny Hamlin for the final spot in the Chase, but Hamlin had the tiebreaker over Dillon. The tiebreaker was a driver’s best finish in the round, and Hamlin finished third on Sunday, compared to Dillon’s sixth-place finish last weekend at Kansas.
Dillon said he and his team did everything they could to make the next round.
“We did everything we could,” Dillon said. “Just didn’t get enough…just one spot at the line.”
Dillon had help from his teammates Paul Menard and Ryan Newman over the closing laps, but the field bottled up at the end and Dillon had nowhere to go.
“I’ve got to thank my teammates, they helped me a lot there at the end trying to help me as much as they could,” Dillon said. “Old girl just didn’t have enough to get the 43 [of Aric Almirola].”
Dillon surprised many by making the second round of the Chase, and he would have had a strong round if not for a late wreck in the opening race in Charlotte. Dillon finished 32nd at Charlotte, which magnified the fact that he only needed one more spot to make the next round.
Dillon said missing the third round on a tiebreaker made it tougher to handle.
“Just disappointed when you tie. I don’t know, tiebreaker went to [Hamlin].”
Dillon, who is in the midst of his best career season at the Sprint Cup level, said he believes his team will continue to build on their momentum going into the final four races and into 2017.
“We’re fighters, our whole team is. Proud of my American Ethanol guys…we’ll be back stronger than ever next year.”