DOVER, Del. (AP) — Austin Dillon focused on performance, not the playoffs. With about 10 laps left at Dover International Speedway, he finally heard over the radio that he was locked in the next round of the Chase.
DOVER, Del. (AP) — Austin Dillon focused on performance, not the playoffs.
With about 10 laps left at Dover International Speedway, he finally heard over the radio that he was locked in the next round of the Chase.
"I didn't want to listen to it, really," Dillon said. "I knew what we had to do."
Dillon went from second-round outsider to keeping a championship push alive rolling with an eighth-place finish — and misfortune from Chase contenders around him — Sunday at Dover International Speedway.
Dillon hadn't finished better than 12th in his last five races and was 13th in the standings headed into Dover. That left him one spot and five points behind Kyle Larson for the final transfer spot.
Larson suffered electrical and pit road issues that knocked him out of the Chase. Jamie McMurray also had car woes and Tony Stewart failed to finish with a flourish in his final shot at competing for a fourth championship.
Dillon, the lone Richard Childress Racing driver in the Chase, was the fortunate one standing in the 12th spot. He was 11 points ahead of 13th.
"We didn't panic. I had a lot of people telling me not to worry," Dillon said. "We didn't have a good practice, and we had a fast race car today, a really fast race car."
With the famed No. 3 on his car and deep bloodlines in the sport, Dillon has started to fulfill some of the promise heaped on him early in his career. Dillon won the Truck championship in 2011 driving the No. 3 made famous by Dale Earnhardt for Richard Childress Racing, and the Xfinity title in 2012 in the same number. He has the No. 3 Chevy parked in the next playoff round — a surprise among the Joe Gibbs Racing and Hendrick Motorsports heavyweights.
The Chase opens the next round at Charlotte Motor Speedway where Dillon finished 12th in the May race.