Austin Dillon advanced to the second round of the Chase on Sunday after finishing eighth in the Citizen Soldier 400 from Dover International Speedway.
Dillon had a strong car on Sunday, and spent most of the day inside the top 10 after starting 14th. Dillon said the car was one of the fastest his team has ever brought to the track.
“I’m proud of this team for building a fast car,” Dillon said. “There’s countless hours on this racecar, and we were able to make it to the next round.”
|Sarah Crabill (Getty Images)|
Dillon came into the race five points behind Kyle Larson for the final transfer spot, tied with Jamie McMurray for 13th in points. Both Larson and McMurray had trouble early on, and it allowed Dillon to play defense for most of the race. After finishing 11 points ahead of Tony Stewart in 13th, Dillon said he was happy to make the next round.
“I was just glad, I didn’t care how much it was. 11, 2, 1 [point], as long as we’re on to the next round.”
Dillon said he was conservative because he was racing for a Chase spot, but that his car was strong enough to run up front.
“I wanted to get more, but I knew what was at stake. We probably could have had a top-5 car pretty simple there, I just didn’t want to hurt our chances of making the Chase. I feel like we had a little bit of a right-front issue, so I didn’t want to push it too hard.”
Dillon finished outside the top 10 in the first two races in round 1, but he was able to finish strong in the final race to get into the next round. Dillon hopes to continue to play the spoiler in the next round and knock out some of the top contenders.
“Now it’s time to knock some of these guys out, because we’ve got this opportunity. We’re going to be the underdog in this next round, so let’s go do it.”
Round 2 of the Chase begins next Saturday night at Charlotte Motor Speedway before heading to Kansas Motor Speedway on October 16th. The round will end at Talladega Motor Speedway on Oct. 23rd, in what most drivers consider to be the wildcard of the entire Chase.