This time, a two-tire call pays off for Austin Dil­lon

Cecil Whig - - LOCAL & NATIONAL SPORTS - By REID SPENCER

NASCAR Wire Ser­vice

— On 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

KANSAS CITY, KAN.

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 twotire 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.

Logano atones for Char­lotte catas­tro­phe

Joey Logano got the ab­so­lute most from his No. 22 Team Penske Ford on Sun­day, and, as was the case with Austin Dil­lon, a strong run at Kansas put Logano in po­si­tion to ad- vance in the Chase for the NASCAR Sprint Cup with a solid per­for­mance next Sun­day at Tal­ladega.

Logano didn’t have a car to com­pete for the win on Sun­day, but he ran third be­hind Kevin Har­vick and Carl Edwards to ame­lio­rate the ef­fects of a 36th­place fin­ish at Char­lotte a week ear­lier. Logano goes to Tal­ladega tied for the last trans­fer spot with the Chase field to be cut there from 12 drivers to eight.

“Yeah, we came out swing­ing,” Logano said af­ter the race. “It’s what we had to do. We did ev­ery­thing we were sup­posed to do today. Our team ex­e­cuted per­fectly. So I’m proud of our pit stops, our ad­just­ments, our restarts. Just needed a lit­tle bit more speed.

“That was prob­a­bly the biggest thing. We were a lit­tle bit off on the short run. You know, af­ter 15 laps or so, we were as good as any­body, but we weren’t bet­ter than them, so we couldn’t make up what we were los­ing on the restarts.

“We made up a lot of points, just not enough. It’s not com­fort­able. Austin and I are tied for next week, so that will be fun. So over­all, I’m proud of the ef­fort and the job we did today. We wanted to win, but we did ev­ery­thing we were sup­posed to do.”

Elliott has his march­ing or­ders for Tal­ladega

Af­ter dis­as­trous re­sults in the first two races of the Chase’s Round of 12, Chase Elliott will be on a win-or-bust mis­sion next Sun­day at Tal­ladega.

It’s not that Elliott has run poorly. At Char­lotte, he led 103 laps be­fore be­ing swept up in a late wreck not of his mak­ing.

In Sun­day’s Hol­ly­wood Casino 400 at Kansas Speed­way, he passed even­tual race win­ner Kevin Har­vick for the lead on Lap 169, only to see his win­ning chances dis­in­te­grate six laps later when he re­turned to pit road for an un­sched­uled stop af­ter a tire rub flat­tened his left rear.

Two sub­se­quent brushes with the wall ap­plied the coup de grace, and Elliott came home 31st, leav­ing him 12th in the Chase stand­ings and 25 points out of eighth with only Tal­ladega left be­fore the cut from 12 Chase drivers to eight.

“I don’t know if we got the left rear get­ting up on the race track or some­thing, and it got into the fender and cut it down,” Elliott said of the orig­i­nal prob­lem. “I don’t know what to do, man. We were try­ing as hard as we can. We had such a good car today again, and... I don’t know what to do. Just keep af­ter it and try to move on.”

“I just will go there (Tal­ladega) and race our hearts out and try to win, I guess. That’s about all we can do. We have some­thing to be proud of in the way we’ve been run­ning. There are just some things we can’t con­trol. I don’t know how to fix that stuff… We’re bummed, but what do you do? You just have to move on.”

GETTY IM­AGES FOR NASCAR

Austin Dil­lon sits in his car dur­ing prac­tice for the NASCAR Sprint Cup Se­ries Bank of Amer­ica 500 at Char­lotte Mo­tor Speed­way on Oc­to­ber 6 in Char­lotte, N.C.

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