With the NASCAR Cup Series Playoffs starting tonight, final prerace inspections were done. Austin Dillon had multiple failures. So, Dillon and the No. 3 car will start in the back of the field. The Cook Out Southern 500 marks the beginning of the playoffs, although Dillon did not qualify for the postseason.
The regular season ended with a lot of excitement at Daytona. With so many drivers racing for their postseason lives, the drama was electric. Of course, being Daytona, the end of the race was filled with caution flags and even a red flag at one point. Through all the madness, unfortunately, Dillon was unable to snag the last spot in the playoffs. He finished 17th overall in the standings. As heartwrenching as that was, this news today is like a kick while you’re down.
NASCAR announced the news over on Twitter.
While Austin Dillon starts in the back, the field will be 37 drivers deep. 16 of those will be competing in the playoffs. Darlington Raceway is not a forgiving track. There’s a reason the track has been dubbed, “The Track Too Tough To Tame.” Like Daytona last week, this race could be going great for 40 laps, and then all of a sudden cars are sliding all over the place. It is a tricky race and drivers will need to be ready for anything that comes their way.
Austin Dillon Struggled at Daytona
If there is a driver out there with more momentum than the rest of the field, it is Ryan Blaney. While Austin Dillon is riding a low after finishing 17th on the season and now failing inspections, Blaney is on a high. To close out the end of the regular season, the No. 12 driver took two wins. As if the FireKeepers Casino 400 wasn’t enough, he took down the Coke Zero Sugar 400 right after.
It was in Daytona that things got so dramatic. There were valiant efforts from Bubba Wallace and Ross Chastain. At one point, they were both fighting for first, and a berth in the playoffs. However back-to-back caution flags scrambled up the race. By the time the race had shut down under a red flag and started up again, Wallace and Chastain were put out of contention. That was until Wallace made a valiant comeback. By the time the results were finalized, the No. 23 car finished second, only behind Blaney. Dillon did not finish but was slated into 18th place in the results.