Austin Dillon completes XFINITY Series sweep at Charlotte

CHARLOTTE, NC - OCTOBER 09: Austin Dillon, driver of the #33 Rheem Chevrolet, celebrates in Victory Lane after winning the NASCAR XFINITY Series Drive for the Cure 300 at Charlotte Motor Speedway on October 9, 2015 in Charlotte, North Carolina. (Photo by Sean Gardner/Getty Images)

CHARLOTTE, NC – OCTOBER 09: Austin Dillon, driver of the #33 Rheem Chevrolet, celebrates in Victory Lane after winning the NASCAR XFINITY Series Drive for the Cure 300 at Charlotte Motor Speedway on October 9, 2015 in Charlotte, North Carolina. (Photo by Sean Gardner/Getty Images)

CONCORD, N.C. – Where Charlotte Motor Speedway is concerned, Austin Dillon doesn’t mind being a creature of habit.

After experienced veterans Kyle Busch and Kasey Kahne knocked themselves out of contention on Lap 151 of Friday night’s Drive for the Cure 300 NASCAR XFINITY Series race at the 1.5-mile track, Dillon streaked away from Erik Jones to win by 2.809 seconds over the Joe Gibbs Racing driver.

With the victory, Dillon completed a season sweep at Charlotte, both wins coming from the pole position. The triumph was Dillon’s fourth of the season in the XFINITY Series and the sixth of his career.

Dillon’s closest call came not on the track, but during the pre-race ceremony. A fireball from one of the skyrockets used to liven up the proceedings dropped out of the evening sky and singed Dillon’s firesuit.

“I was actually praying, and the fireworks hit me in the back,” Dillon said. “I didn’t know if it was a sign from God or what. But it got me going right there with a firework in the butt.”

Now that he’s completed a season sweep in the XFINITY Series, Dillon will go for a weekend sweep on Saturday night, but he’ll have to win his first NASCAR Sprint Cup Series race to achieve it.

“We going to do our best (on Saturday) to do the same thing we did tonight,” Dillon said.

Brad Keselowski ran third, followed by Daniel Suarez and Regan Smith. Chris Buescher came home seventh and extended his series lead to 26 points over defending champion Chase Elliott, who finished ninth.

Busch lost several positions after a Lap 147 restart, and he and Kahne raced aggressively for third place—with repeated side-by-side contact between the two cars, before Busch pulled ahead. But Kahne drove hard into Turn 3 on Lap 151, tapping Busch’s Toyota twice and sending it up into the outside wall.

Kahne’s Chevrolet also sustained damage in the incident, but he managed to finish 12th. Busch took his car to the garage on Lap 154 and retired from the race in 31st place.

“Kyle got mad because he got into it with his teammate (Jones) off Turn 2 on the start,” Kahne said after the race. “That shuffled him back to where I was, and I’m racing to try to get by him.”

By Kahne’s account, the hard racing soon escalated.

“He started beating on me down the back and on the front, and I overdrove Turn 3 and got into him,” Kahne said.

Busch was not available to comment after exiting his car.

Before the incident, Busch had led a race-high 102 laps, taking over the all-time lead in the series at Charlotte with 1,288 laps led. Mark Martin was the previous record holder with 1,257.

Note: Sunoco Rookie of the Year candidate Darrell Wallace Jr. finished eighth to record his eighth straight top-10 finish on a 1.5-mile intermediate speedway.

NASCAR XFINITY Series Race – Drive for the Cure 300 Presented by Blue Cross and Blue Shield of North Carolina
Charlotte Motor Speedway
Concord, North Carolina
Friday, October 09, 2015

1. (1) Austin Dillon(i), Chevrolet, 200, $75707.
2. (3) Erik Jones(i), Toyota, 200, $60819.
3. (13) Brad Keselowski(i), Ford, 200, $41037.
4. (7) Daniel Suarez #, Toyota, 200, $42037.
5. (12) Regan Smith, Chevrolet, 200, $33188.
6. (8) Ty Dillon, Chevrolet, 200, $29974.
7. (4) Chris Buescher, Ford, 200, $30643.
8. (9) Darrell Wallace Jr. #, Ford, 200, $27365.
9. (17) Chase Elliott, Chevrolet, 200, $27207.
10. (10) Elliott Sadler, Ford, 200, $26145.
11. (11) Ryan Reed, Ford, 200, $24437.
12. (2) Kasey Kahne(i), Chevrolet, 200, $18129.
13. (6) Brian Scott, Chevrolet, 200, $23323.
14. (14) Ryan Sieg, Chevrolet, 200, $22893.
15. (15) Brendan Gaughan, Chevrolet, 199, $23041.
16. (18) Dakoda Armstrong, Ford, 199, $22439.
17. (16) Ryan Truex, Ford, 199, $22236.
18. (20) Landon Cassill, Chevrolet, 199, $22233.
19. (21) JJ Yeley, Toyota, 198, $21856.
20. (23) Jeremy Clements, Chevrolet, 198, $22205.
21. (22) Brennan Poole, Chevrolet, 197, $21553.
22. (26) John Wes Townley(i), Chevrolet, 196, $21447.
23. (28) Ryan Ellis(i), Chevrolet, 195, $21345.
24. (19) Ross Chastain #, Chevrolet, 194, $21219.
25. (27) David Starr, Toyota, 194, $21268.
26. (40) Cale Conley #, Toyota, 193, $21042.
27. (31) Joey Gase, Chevrolet, 192, $20915.
28. (32) Eric McClure, Toyota, 191, $20814.
29. (38) Mike Harmon, Dodge, 187, $14739.
30. (25) Jimmy Weller, Chevrolet, Drive shaft, 164, $20988.
31. (5) Kyle Busch(i), Toyota, Accident, 153, $19607.
32. (34) Derrike Cope, Chevrolet, 150, $14546.
33. (24) Blake Koch, Toyota, 149, $20481.
34. (39) Harrison Rhodes #, Dodge, Ignition, 90, $20445.
35. (35) BJ McLeod(i), Chevrolet, Engine, 59, $14397.
36. (30) TJ Bell(i), Toyota, Electrical, 56, $18965.
37. (33) Morgan Shepherd, Chevrolet, Fuel pressure, 46, $11965.
38. (37) Josh Reaume #, Chevrolet, Vibration, 31, $16965.
39. (36) Timmy Hill(i), Chevrolet, Steering, 16, $9965.
40. (29) Jeff Green, Toyota, Vibration, 3, $8965.

Average Speed of Race Winner:  152.027 mph.
Time of Race:  1 Hrs, 58 Mins, 24 Secs. Margin of Victory:  2.809 Seconds.
Caution Flags:  3 for 13 laps.
Lead Changes:  7 among 5 drivers.
Lap Leaders:   A. Dillon(i) 1-5; K. Kahne(i) 6-39; K. Busch(i) 40-99; A. Dillon(i) 100-101; D. Suarez # 102; R. Sieg 103-104; K. Busch(i) 105-146; A. Dillon(i) 147-200.
Leaders Summary (Driver, Times Lead, Laps Led):  K. Busch(i) 2 times for 102 laps; A. Dillon(i) 3 times for 61 laps; K. Kahne(i) 1 time for 34 laps; R. Sieg 1 time for 2 laps; D. Suarez # 1 time for 1 lap.
Top 10 in Points: C. Buescher – 1,055; C. Elliott – 1,029; R. Smith – 1,021; T. Dillon – 1,017; D. Wallace Jr. # – 943; E. Sadler – 942; D. Suarez # – 927; B. Scott – 901; B. Gaughan – 893; R. Reed – 798.

 

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