KANSAS CITY, Kan. – Sunday at Kansas Speedway, Austin Dillon disproved the colloquial definition of insanity—trying the same thing and expecting different results.
Last week at Charlotte, Dillon took two tires on a late pit stop and wrecked when Martin Truex Jr.’s attempt to push him on a restart went awry.
But late in Sunday’s Hollywood Casino 400 at Kansas, there was Dillon again, taking two tires and taking the lead for a restart on Lap 226.
This time the strategy worked. Though Dillon’s No. 3 Richard Childress Racing Chevrolet lost positions on the restart, a quick caution on Lap 233 allowed him to pit for tires and propelled him to a sixth-place finish.
The result left Dillon tied for eighth in the Chase standings with third-place finisher Joey Logano and back in the game as the NASCAR Sprint Cup Series heads for the Round of 12 elimination race next Sunday at Talladega.
“I had no real concern,” Dillon said of the late two-tire call. “I was more concerned at Charlotte than here. I knew that two tires, as far as firing off, was going to be OK through the gears. (AJ) Allmendinger and a couple of them did it, fired off and ran third there for a while.
“Our cars, we never put two tires on in practice or anything. Made it through the first lap, and I went into Turn 1 in third (gear), and the right front just plowed on exit. I actually almost got run over on the exit of (Turn) 2…
“We ended up finishing about where we were going to finish anyways, because we got four tires on the next (stop). It made us make the decision to come get four, drag people down. We ran about to where we were going to finish.”
But it was good enough to rekindle Dillon’s prospects of advancing to the next round.