Austin Dillon held a hard-charging field off three times on restarts in the closing laps to earn his first NASCAR Cup Series victory of the 2020 season in Sunday’s O’Reilly Auto Parts 500 at Texas Motor Speedway. It was a 1-2 finish for the Richard Childress Racing team with Dillon’s rookie teammate Tyler Reddick finishing a mere .149-seconds behind.
Before the Texas green flag, Dillon was 24 points outside the NASCAR Cup Series Playoffs top 16 and now the Texas winner has an automatic berth. It’s his third career victory – with other trophies in the 2017 Daytona 500 and NASCAR’s longest race, the 2018 Coca-Cola 600 at Charlotte Motor Speedway – 88 races ago.
Dillon, 30, grandson of NASCAR Hall of Fame team owner Richard Childress, was emotional after the win, screaming “thank yous” into his team radio and then dedicating the victory to his wife Whitney and their one-month old son, Ace, back at home in North Carolina.
“Not bad for a silver spoon kid, right,” Dillon joked after climbing out of his No. 3 RCR Chevrolet, a reference to his upbringing in NASCAR’s brand of royalty and comment last year by Alex Bowman.
“Tyler Reddick, he raced me clean. 1-2 for RCR. This has been coming. We’ve had good cars all year. I’ve got my baby Ace back home and my wife and I love them so much. I’m just so happy. Thank God. To tell you the truth, it means a whole lot [to be in the Playoffs] for the family, for all our of partners.”
Team Penske driver Joey Logano finished third, reigning NASCAR Cup Series champion Kyle Busch was fourth, still looking for his first victory of 2020. NASCAR Cup Series points leader Kevin Harvick finished fifth.
Erik Jones, Ryan Blaney, Kurt Busch, Brad Keselowski and Aric Almirola rounded out the top 10. Blaney led a race-best 150 of the 334 laps and swept the opening two stages, but it marks the second time he’s led at least 100 laps at Texas and didn’t get to collect the trophy.
Blaney and several other of the day’s frontrunners were making their way forward after green flag pit stops when a caution came out with 31 laps remaining for young driver Quinn Houff, who crashed while trying to get to the pit lane. That changed the complexion on the race and many of the afternoon’s best cars were then left to play catch-up while Reddick and Dillon were able to pit under caution instead of the green flag as the others had.
“Disappointing finish for sure,” said Blaney, driver of the No. 12 Team Penske Ford. “Dominant car all day, especially on long runs. Really proud of that. Just unfortunate the way it ended for us.”
“I’m proud of the speed we have and I feel like we can compete with the four and the 11 and those guys who have a lot of wins this year,” he added.
Reddick acknowledged the track position was a huge help at the end. And runner-up is a career-best finish for the former two-time NASCAR Xfinity Series champion in the NASCAR Cup Series
THE FRATERNAL ORDER OF THE GO FAST
If you read my post Wednesday regarding our selections for the Texas race, you will remember that I was ridiculing a certain person’s pick to win the damn race at Texas. I even patterned the song at the end of the post to harass and shame her for picking Austin Dillon for Texas! Now I have to offer a full throated apology to Bernie The Bay Area Bandit since she correctly selected the race winner!!!!
THE SHAKERS AND THE MOVERS
The single biggest scorer this week was not the player who selected the race winner, as happens from time to time. This week the highest scorer of the week is a duet consisting of Linda The Cookie Mom and Edie The Las Vegas Super Star. Even though each lady deposited 43 points into their segment one buckets, they each were rooting for a different race car driver at Texas. The Cookie Mom had her marbles in the marble sack of Sliced Bread, aka Joey Logano, while The Vegas Super Star was hanging with Kyle Busch all race.
The player who selected the race winner, La Bandita, was the second highest scorer this weekend pocketing 40 points.
Meanwhile, Leon Your Most Humble Sheriff and Snoopy Dawn racked up 33 points from That Jones Boy, Erik, and his hard charging in the last 75 laps. There were a few times in the middle of the race that it looked like Jones had “screwed the pooch”, but when the checkered flag flew he was he showed up in 6th place.
Chiefy, aka, Jim, had a reasonably decent race, depositing 30 points. His driver, Aric Almirola, was running with the big dogs all day, and was in a position to win for most of the race. However, as the laps wound down Almirola slipped back in the pack to finish 10th.
Lastly, Amber The Extremely Lucky Cheddar Head was able to pocket 28 points. and that was enough to keep her securely as the 1st segment winner in this crazy COVID-19 season!
It is very interesting that the top six positions on the leaderboard did not move this week! However, Dan The Numbers Dude did effectuate a tie with Jeremy The Coach, and just in the nick of time!
There were five players who changed zip codes this week. These five players were the bottom five players on the totem pole.
To begin with there were three players, Edie the Las Vegas Super Star, Carole, aka Rudy, and Carlton The Doorman who moved three (3) spots this week. The Vegas Super Star rocketed out of The Outhouse like she was riding a Saturn V rocket, and came down to rest in the 8th spot. However, Rudy and The Doorman were not as fortunate and tumbled off the cliff to now land in 10th and 11th, respectively.
Linda The Cookie Mom made a big run for the high ground, moved up two positions, and found herself quartered in 7th place.
Lastly, Bernie The Bay Area Bandit, with her race winner in hand, stepped up one place and finished out the segment in 9th place.
STRAIGHT FROM THE CRAPPER
Once again we have a 2-fer! Carlton The Doorman and Carole, aka Rudy, get to share this weekly award. Both players could only muster up 14 points this week, and therefore are co-winners of The Crappiest Pick of The Week award! Both were rooting on Martin Truex, Jr. this week, but it just wasn’t his day!
For the final race of the 1st segment The Doorman slipped into The Outhouse unannounced and secured this award all to himself!
TIL NEXT TIME, PULL YOUR BELTS TIGHT AND LET’S GO RACIN’!