Dillon Surprises on a Hot Texas Afternoon
Photo: Chris Graythen | Getty Images
Austin Dillon won Sunday’s O’Reilly Auto Parts 500 at Texas Motor Speedway. It was his third career win and first since the 2018 Daytona 500.
Ever since Kevin Harvick left Richard Childress Racing follow the 2013 season, the team has struggled tremendously. Harvick that season won four races himself, but from 2014-2019 the team had only visited victory lane three times total with the last being Dillon’s 500 victory.
2020 has been a significantly better season for the team as both drivers entered Sunday’s race in good position to make the playoffs on points. But being locked in via a win is always a better option. Following a late race yellow that trapped a dominant Ryan Blaney a lap down, Dillon and teammate Tyler Reddick took advantage of the lack of tire wear during the race by electing to take fuel only on their final stops. They had to endure multiple restarts from the front row, but they were able to hold the likes of Joey Logano and Kyle Busch at bay for RCR’s first 1-2 finish since 2011.
Bad Luck Blaney
Ryan Blaney led 150 of the race’s 334 laps and won both of the stages. However, history has never been on Blaney’s side when he leads more than 100 laps in a Cup race as he has never translated that into a victory and Sunday in Texas continued that trend. With the likes of Harvick and Logano on a different pit strategy that allowed them to run much father on fuel before their final pit stop, Blaney’s luck ran out when a caution came out with just under 30 to go trapping him a lap down. He bounced back to finish seventh, but YRB will definitely see this as one that got away.
Tire-d of This
The RCR cars were able to skip on tires during their final stops and still win the race because tires didn’t matter, at all. The compound Goodyear brought to Texas literally had no wear so fresh tires served no advantage. This resulted an extremely lackluster first 350ish miles. The final stage was helped tremendously by late cautions forcing restarts, but you can’t always count on that to happen. No tire wear=Bad racing. Goodyear should be ashamed.