Monday, May 29, 2017

Austin Dillon Takes the 3 Back to Victory Lane in the Coca-Cola 600

Originally written for CLNS Media.

Austin Dillon won his first career race at Charlotte Motor Speedway in Sunday night’s Coca-Cola 600.

Jerry Markland/Getty Images
Dillon ran in the top 10 most of the night, but he needed to use fuel mileage to get to victory lane.  Dillon stayed out when most of the leaders pitted, and when Jimmie Johnson ran out of fuel coming to the white flag, Dillon took advantage.

“I was just trying to be patient with the 48 [of Johnson], I could see him up there saving,” Dillon said.  “I thought I had saved enough early that I could attack at the end, but I was trying to wait as long as possible.”

Dillon said winning at his home track made his first career Monster Energy NASCAR Cup Series victory more special.

“Never thought I’d be here in Coke 600 victory lane,” Dillon said.  “It’s hasn’t sunk in, I can’t believe it.”

Dillon, who drives for his grandfather Richard Childress, said it was special to take the No. 3 car back to victory lane.

“My pit crew’s the best on pit road; I love it for them.  Got to thank my grandfather, he’s put a lot into me.  I complain a lot, but they got me to victory lane tonight.”

Martin Truex Jr. led a race-high 233 laps, but he came up short and finished third.  Truex said his car lost the handling over the final run as he chased down the cars who gambled on fuel.

“Fuel mileage didn’t play out our way,” Truex said.  “We were a little loose that last run as well, but I think we would might have been able to have caught him on the last lap.”

“Last three years, that’s two of them we’ve lost on fuel mileage, so that kind of stinks.  But big-picture-wise, it was a good night.”

Unofficial results:
1. Austin Dillon
2. Kyle Busch
3. Martin Truex Jr.
4. Matt Kenseth
5. Denny Hamlin
6. Kurt Busch
7. Erik Jones
8. Kevin Harvick
9. Ryan Newman
10. Dale Earnhardt Jr.
11. Daniel Suarez
12. Jamie McMurray
13. Paul Menard
14. Clint Bowyer
15. Ricky Stenhouse Jr.
16. Trevor Bayne
17. Jimmie Johnson
18. AJ Allmendinger
19. Michael McDowell
20. Chris Buescher
21. Joey Logano
22. Regan Smith
23. David Ragan
24. Ryan Blaney
25. Danica Patrick
26. JJ Yeley
27. Gray Gaulding
28. Landon Cassill
29. Timmy Hill
30. Reed Sorenson
31. Derrike Cope
32. Corey LaJoie
33. Kyle Larson
34. Cole Whitt
35. Kasey Kahne
36. Ty Dillon
37. Matt DiBenedetto
38. Chase Elliott
39. Brad Keselowski
40. Jeffrey Earnhardt

Sarah Crabill/Getty Images

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