Today’s NASCAR race at Daytona belongs to Austin Dillon after the No. 3 team and driver came from P15 to the front to take the checkered flag. Taking into consideration that there was no qualifying, the race was postponed from Saturday night until Sunday morning, and all the other weather delays, it’s amazing the race finished. NASCAR was clearly determined to finish the regular season right.
And, by the time it was said and done, it wasn’t just the rain that Austin Dillon battled. He had to also get through the massive wreck. Then he had to wait three-and-a-half hours to finish the race. When the flag went green again in the afternoon, there was another issue — Austin Cindric.
Dillon broke down the late race move on Cindric that ultimately gave him the win.
“Yeah, there was a lot going on there. I knew that if we got to the white if we waited too long, I was afraid somebody would wreck behind us. So, I wanted to go ahead and get the lead, we were able to get it, I had a big run to him. And then I had my teammate the 8 back there I knew we were in pretty good shape at the end. He did a good job checking up any kind of run, just a little too much push there, got em [Cindric] loose.”
Austin Dillon didn’t do anything wrong on that last move. He had to assess his situation and his situation had him in a narrow place. Win and get into the playoffs — or don’t. Simple math for any race car driver.
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Of course, after the victory lane photos and things, Austin Dillon talked postrace about the end in more depth. The driver explained where he saw himself in relation to teammates. Then, he talked about the move itself. Was it a bit too fast? Maybe. But Dillon claims he made a similar move on an earlier lap. No issue there.
“In the back of my mind I knew that the 12 car was still out there before, I didn’t know where he was points-wise. But if I waited to the white flag to make the move, possibly if he wrecks or someone wrecks back there, he could take our shot away. So, I wanted to make it before the white. Truthfully, it just kinda happened.
“I was kinda planning on getting a bigger run than that before and pulling out to the right and I figured that the 2 was going to be a sitting duck because they were going to go with me, the Chevys would. And then we’d race it out from there.”
This wasn’t an easy weekend for anyone. A long, wet and unpredictable two days is what these Cup Series drivers went through. Austin Dillon took the chances he was given, and now he’s the Coke Zero Sugar 400 winner. Oh, and he’s going to the playoffs!