Austin Dillon’s first Nationwide victory tempered by infraction

Austin Dillon, driver of the #3 Bass Pro Shops Chevrolet Chevrolet, celebrates winning the NASCAR Nationwide Series Feed The Children 300 at Kentucky Speedway on June 29, 2012 in Sparta, Kentucky. (Photo by Sean Gardner/Getty Images for NASCAR)

SPARTA, Ky. — Friday was a night of emotions for Austin Dillon, who enjoyed the euphoria of his first NASCAR Nationwide Series victory, followed by the depressing news that his No. 3 Chevrolet had failed the height stick test in post-race inspection.

Dillon also took over the series lead from Richard Childress Racing teammate Elliott Sadler, but his slim two-point advantage is in jeopardy in the face of a possible NASCAR penalty because the rear of his car was deemed too low.

“I’ve never seen Austin so high and so low at the same time,” team owner Richard Childress, Dillon’s grandfather, said Saturday afternoon in the Sprint Cup garage. “It was like he’d been shot.”

Dillon won the Feed the Children 300 at Kentucky Speedway by 9.828 seconds over Kurt Busch. Kentucky is a bumpy track, and running laps around the undulating surface can affect the ride heights of the cars. That’s exactly what Childress believes happened to Dillon on Friday night.

“We use 1,200-pound springs to keep the back end up,” Childress said. “A rear jack bolt worked its way back on a rough track. It was certainly nothing intentional — and it certainly wasn’t an advantage.”

Dillon likely will have to wait until early next week to learn the price of the infraction. NASCAR typically assesses penalties on Tuesday after the weekly competition meeting.

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