Showing posts with label Austin Dillon. Show all posts
Showing posts with label Austin Dillon. Show all posts

Jimmie Johnson wins
It really was just a matter of time, wasn't it? For the first time under the current Chase format, six-time champion Jimmie Johnson secured his spot in the Round of 8 with his eighth victory at Charlotte Motor Speedway on Sunday. "We knew we would get back," Johnson said in Victory Lane. "It was slower than we wanted it to be but to be here today and have this victory is great. We were able to execute all day long here. I just really can’t thank everyone enough that supports us and for all the fans that were tuned in today."

Chase Elliott

Johnson's teammate Chase Elliott was also poised for a strong finish in the 704, until a wreck on Lap 258 ended his day early. The Sprint Cup rookie led 103 laps and was running fifth when contact between Martin Truex Jr. and Austin Dillon caused a wreck that sent both the No. 3 and No. 24 into the garage. "We had such a good car and I am devastated that we didn't get the result that the guys deserved," Elliott said. "They gave me such a fast 3M Chevy and that is all you can ask for. We just have got to go and do more of that next week." Dillon and Elliott weren't the only two Chase contenders short on luck either. Drivers Joey Logano, Kevin Harvick and Denny Hamlin suffered car troubles that knocked them out of the race prematurely.

XFINITY Chase Grid

Ty Dillon is out, Darrell Wallace Jr. is in - with just one point separating the two. After a hectic race in Charlotte on Sunday, the inaugural XFINITY Chase field was cut to eight drivers and Dillon was one of four drivers who's championship dreams came to an end. "Man, it's heartbreaking," an emotional Dillon said after the race. "We're a team that should have been in the final round and you've got to expect things to happen...That's the way this Chase is built." Daniel Suarez and Emporia's own Elliott Sadler lead the remaining drivers, thanks to their respective wins at Kentucky and Dover. Fellow XFINITY race winner Erik Jones also made the cut, joining Wallace, Justin Allgaier, Brendan Gaughan, Ryan Reed and Blake Koch in the field. Think you know who'll make the next round of cuts? Make your picks here.

Breathing Room?

Breathing Room? What Breathing Room?
If Sunday showed us anything, it's that the notion of "breathing room" in the Chase might be little more than an illusion. As 2014 champion Kevin Harvick pointed out last week - "trouble can strike anywhere." That certainly came to fruition in Charlotte when nearly half the Chase field was sent to the garage early. While nearly every driver had spoken about the importance of strong finishes at Charlotte and Kansas before cut-off race in Talladega, Sunday's contest proved to be an exhaustive gauntlet the entire field navigated all afternoon. Now the circus travels to Kansas City where there will be even more pressure for drivers to survive and advance in the 2016 Chase for the Sprint Cup.

The Round of 16 was officially the Martin Truex Jr. show. After his postseason-opening victory in Chicagoland and nearly doubling down the following weekend in Loudon, Truex Jr. earned the fourth win of his 2016 season in Dover and has a lead a whopping 360 of the 967 total laps in three Chase races. “We are here to get it done and golly I’m telling you just the best bunch of guys you could ever ask for,” Truex Jr. said. “It’s just amazing to drive their race cars and do what we were able to do. I’m just ecstatic.”

Austin Dillon and Chase Elliott

Ryan Newman, Martin Truex Jr., Chase Elliott? Under the current Chase format we've seen a driver weave their way into Championship contention on the backs of strong, consistent finishes. Although he's without a win in his rookie season - Elliott is not only hanging with the big dogs, he's thriving with them and advances comfortably in the Chase. Fellow postseason newbie Austin Dillon raced his way into the next round with an eighth place showing at Dover, securing the 12th and final Chase spot. "It feels good," he said. "It's time to knock some more of these guys out, because we've got this opportunity. … I want to say that we're going to be the underdog in this next round, so let's go do it."

Jeff Gordon and Dale Earnhardt Jr

What Lies Ahead
Jeff Gordon found himself in a familiar place after 400 miles at Dover International Speedway, where a 10th place finish marked the 476th top-10 showing of his storied career.  It was Gordon's best finish in seven races behind the wheel of the No. 88 Chevrolet, and the future Hall of Famer has just one race left on his calendar for 2016. "I wanted to get a top-10 in this car before my time in the car is over,’" Gordon said. "We got that. Now let’s go get a top five or something better at Martinsville." Considering the Virginia track is Gordon's best, odds are good that he will.

Jimmie Johnson

Don't Rule Out Johnson
While it was ultimately Truex who dominated the Chase's first round - it could've just as easily been Jimmie Johnson and the 48 in Victory Lane at both Chicagoland and Dover. A pair of pit road penalties saw possible victories slip away for the six-time champion, and those kind of mistakes will be even more costly in a tighter field. But with a combined 30 wins at the six tracks between here and Homestead, there's still time to put a stop to the costly mistakes and round into championship form.
Kevin Harvick

Harvick Gets Lucky in Loudon
Make that two tickets punched to the Round of 12. Kevin Harvick joins Martin Truex Jr. as a lock to advance to the next round of the Chase for the Sprint Cup with his win in New Hampshire Sunday. Harvick overtook race leader Matt Kenseth - who was gunning for his third straight Loudon win - off the final restart with five laps to go and held on for his third victory of the season. “For me, it was just a smooth restart,” Harvick said. “I just didn’t want to spin the tires. I feel like the performance of the car and the things that we’re doing are good enough to be competitive, and we just need to not make mistakes and go from there.” It was Harvick’s 34th career Sprint Cup Series win and second at NHMS, with his last coming in 2006.

Elliott Sadler

An emotional Elliott Sadler celebrated history over the weekend, becoming the first driver to win a race under the new XFINITY Series Chase format."We fought through a lot tonight," Sadler said in Victory Lane. "I'm going to get a little emotional on you, I've been in the hospital all week with my mom in ICU watching her fight and fight through a lot of pain and suffering. (She) made her way back home tonight to watch the race. Mom, I love you. She leads so much by example." The Emporia, VA native expertly navigated his way through a caution-filled battle for the 13th win of his XFINITY career.

Clint Bowyer and Tony Stewart

The season's not over yet, but there's already been news of some big changes coming in 2017 with Stewart-Haas Racing front racing. Clint Bowyer will be behind the wheel of the 14 once the "Smoke" clears, and it'll be running on a Roush Yates Ford. NASCAR takes a look at these and a few other changes coming down the pipeline this winter.

Jamie Mcmurray, Austin Dillon, Tony Stewart and Chris Buescher

The field will get a little tighter after this weekend's race in Dover as four drivers will be eliminated from Chase contention. With two first-timers and a future Hall of Famer on the cusp of elimination, we could see some monster action at the "Monster Mile." Less than 20 points separate 7th-place Denny Hamlin from 13th-place Jamie McMurray, so don't be surprised to see some serious shake-ups before the Round of 12 is officially underway.
In just his third season in the Sprint Cup Series, Austin Dillon and the famed No. 3 are in championship contention. Driving for his Pop Pop Richard Childress, Austin hopes to bring another championship back to his family-owned race team in what will be his first Chase for the Sprint Cup.

Austin Dillon

Dillon has enjoyed a breakout campaign in his 2016 season, setting new career highs in both Top-10 and Top-5 finishes. Regardless, the No. 3 driver was feeling pressure of defending his Chase position heading into the regular season finale at Richmond, but delivered with a 13th place finish and his first Chase berth.

With an RCR team that has run well on both short tracks and super speedways this season, Dillon is poised to make some postseason noise in his first trip to the Chase. Regardless, NASCAR fans across the country are sure glad to see the No. 3 back in the playoff mix.

With a win in the Coca-Cola 600 already notched in his belt, Martin Truex Jr. scored a checkered flag in yet another one of NASCAR's crown jewels on Sunday: the Bojangles Southern 500 in Darlington. Driving the throwback No 78 Auto-Owners Camry, Truex was able to hold outrun Harvick to his second win of the season. "We've had a string of terrible bad luck lately," Truex said. "We've had super-fast race cars. ... I knew when the bad luck stopped coming, we would start racking them off. Tonight we weren't the best car, and we won for once. I just couldn't be more excited." He's just the eighth driver to score wins in both the Coca Cola 600 and Bojangles Southern 500 in the same season.

Bubble Drivers at Richmond

If the season ended in Darlington, the Chase field would be set. Chris Buescher, sitting 30th, would be one of two rookies in the Chase - joining Chase Elliott who's sitting 12th in points. Austin Dillon would be making his first-ever Chase appearance and Jamie McMurray would make the NASCAR postseason for the second time. But there's still Richmond - and a pair of NASCAR vets with 12 Chase berths between them are looking to make one final push for the playoffs. Check out the graphic above to see how the Chase bubble looks heading into the regular season finale. If math isn't your strong suit, just remember this: win and get in.

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Bubble Drivers at Richmond International Raceway