On the final lap of Sunday’s NASCAR Cup Series race in Phoenix, Austin Dillon and Daniel Suarez were competing for a Top 10 finish. The day before, while working in the booth for the Xfinity Series race, Suarez jokingly tweeted out a funny little racing phrase: “if you’re not amigos, then you’re enemigos.” The tweet went semi-viral, and ironically foreshadowed what was coming the next day in Phoenix.
As Suarez and Dillon raced for a Top 10, Kyle Busch also crashed the party, getting a run in on Turn 2 and diving to the inside. Suarez tried to block the pass, but the momentum carried his car into Dillon’s left rear quarter panel approaching Turn 3.
Blindsided, Dillon crashed and Suarez finished ninth. And let’s just say that Dillon wasn’t feeling much like an amigo afterwards.
On Tuesday, Dillon still wanted to voice his displeasure with the result. He said in an interview that Suarez had not responded to a call nor a text, yet, and that Suarez shouldn’t have tried to block Busch.
“I wish he would have just messaged me and said, ‘Hey, I screwed up.’ Instead, he said he got pushed into it, or loose brakes, and I just hear excuses from him a lot,” Dillon said. “The move that he made down the backstretch blocking (Busch) low is what bothered me. Kyle got into him because he was blocking and then, I think, instead of spinning himself out, he used me to stop. Or even if he was out of control, the brakes are really good on these cars. Maybe his were failing or something.”
Austin Dillon finished the NASCAR Ruoff Mortgage 500 in 21st because of the spin-out
The mishap spoiled what would have been another solid finish for Dillon in this still-young ’22 season. His car sputtered in Daytona with engine trouble, but since then, Dillon finished second in California and 11th in Las Vegas. A Top 10 at Phoenix would have positioned him nicely in the points standings; but because of the accident, he finished 21st.
Suarez, who finished 9th, publicly apologized to Dillon via Instagram.
“I’m so sorry for the 3 team, they deserved better today,” wrote Suarez. “Racing hard with him and the 18, I just got pushed into the last corner and into the 3.”
Dillon’s car owner Richard Childress echoed his driver’s feelings in his own interviews.
“It was an unnecessary crash at the end, running for (seventh) place and wreck someone for (seventh) place. That doesn’t say much for people that do it. I was just disappointed. He got nudged by Kyle a little, but he got the car straight. All he had to do was turn left. Instead, he hit (Dillon). Disappointing.”