Dillon Fires Back At Critics – On The TMS Track
By John Sturbin | Senior Writer
FORT WORTH, Texas _ Ty Dillon silenced perhaps his harshest critic with a dominating performance en route to victory in the WinStar World Casino 350 Friday night at Texas Motor Speedway.
Dillon led all but 17 of 147 laps in the NASCAR Camping World Truck Series race on TMS’ high-banked, 1.5-mile quadoval. Dillon’s second victory of the season was a resounding reply to the blistering criticism doled out by lame duck Richard Childress Racing teammate Kevin Harvick following contact between the two at Martinsville Speedway last Saturday.
“We’ve gone through a lot this past week,” said Dillon, who led four times for 130 laps in the No. 3 Bass Pro Shops/Tracker Boats Chevrolet Silverado owned by grandfather Richard Childress. “It means a lot to give ourselves a clean sheet and something new to talk about and think about. I had a good feeling about this whole weekend. There’s a lot of stuff built-up inside me from this past week and I let it out inside the race car tonight.
“That’s been my mission from stepping into a race car for the first time, to prove to people that we want it – we want to be race car drivers, not people who just sit behind the wheel and call ourselves race car drivers.We want to prove it to everybody every weekend, by racing hard and not giving an inch and doing our job, which is to win races. So tonight, glad to do my job to 100 percent.”
Dillon’s 130 laps-led fell just 10 short of equaling the track record by a Truck Series winner set by Ron Hornaday Jr. in the 2008 Sam’s Town 400. Dillon also earned a perfect Driver Rating of 150.0 for the performance.
“I think everything that has gone wrong this year has been in my mind,” said Dillon, third in the point standings – 47 behind leader Matt Crafton but only one behind runner-up/reigning series champion
James Buescher. “I want to win races worse than anybody, so do my guys and it’s just built-up and built-up. We finally fulfilled our full potential. We ran like this all year. You can go look at the stats and we’re in the top four in every stat there is except closing races.
“Our goal was to close-out these races and we knew that if we could close-out these races, we’ll win them. We had a dominating truck at 90 percent of the racetracks. Things have gone wrong and we’ve kept battling and battling. The guys are just as strong-willed as I am and nobody ever gave up and these nights will keep coming.”
Dillon drew the ire of Harvick, who drives the No. 29 Budweiser Chevrolet SS for RCR in the Sprint Cup Series, late in last week’s NCWTS event on the half-mile Martinsville layout. Harvick was running second and Dillon third when “Happy” was sent into the spin cycle and a 30th-place finish. After the race Harvick ripped Ty and older brother Austin, who races in the Nationwide Series for RCR, thusly: “The No. 3 (Ty Dillon) just dumped me. Exactly the reason why I’m leaving RCR because you’ve got those kids coming up and they’ve got no respect for what they do in this sport and they’ve had everything fed to them with a spoon.”
Harvick, who is leaving RCR at season’s end to drive for Stewart-Haas Racing beginning in 2014, apologized Sunday morning by saying the remarks were made in the heat of the moment.
Team-owner Childress politely declined to address Harvick’s remarks following the post-race news conference Friday with his grandson and winning crew chief Marcus Richmond _ all sporting new black cowboy hats.
“We’re going to focus on trying to win these next three (Cup) races, and move on,” said Childress, sipping on a beer. Asked if he would classify Harvick’s remarks as a low blow, Childress said, “I ain’t even going to go there. I’m just celebrating this win. But thank you, anyway. I’m just going to celebrate this win.”
Harvick was tapped by Childress to replace Dale Earnhardt after the seven-time Cup champion was killed on the final lap of the 2001 season-opening Daytona 500. Harvick, 37, has started 463 Cup races for RCR and posted 22 victories. He is fourth in the Chase for the Sprint Cup through seven races, 28 points behind co-leaders Matt Kenseth of Joe Gibbs Racing and Jimmie Johnson of Hendrick Motorsports heading into Sunday’s ninth annual AAA Texas 500.
Friday night’s victory was Dillon’s second of the season – the other was at the 1.5-mile Kentucky Speedway on June 2 –and third of his NCWTS career. But it was his first win at TMS, where he has finished seventh or better in five career starts including a previous best of second in June’s WinStar World Casino 400.
Dillon’s victory also was the 100th career win for the Richard Childress Racing-owned and stylized No. 3 in NASCAR national series history. “I know Dale Earnhardt is smiling down tonight,” said Childress, referring to the superstar who won six of his seven Cup championships in RCR-owned Chevrolets. “To know that Austin and Ty and Dale Jr. – he won some races in the Nationwide Series with us – for all of them to be able to win and to win our 100th race for the No. 3 and for my grandson to win it, it’s very, very special and a night I’ll remember a long time and the way he did it.
“I seen that look in his eye earlier tonight when I was talking to him and I knew he was on a mission. He was kind of quiet this week a little. But he spoke loud tonight in the race truck. I looked up at the board one time tonight when he was leading, 100 laps or so and thought that’s pretty cool to see that No. 3 up there leading the race, and I know Dale is smiling down right now.”
The only time Dillon’s run to Victory Lane appeared in jeopardy was when he was leading and the caution came out from Laps 100 to 106 after the engine blew in owner/driver Kyle Busch’s No. 51 ToyotaCare Tundra. On the restart, rookie Ryan Blaney took the lead in his No. 29 Cooper Standard Ford F-150 with Buescher, driver of the No. 31 Rheem Chevrolet, in tow.
Blaney led for 10 laps as Dillon fought past Buescher and then passed Blaney with a strong inside move between Turns 3 and 4 on Lap 117. Once in clean air and out front, Dillon built a commanding lead over the final 31 laps en route to a 2.663-second margin of victory over runnerup Johnny Sauter and his No. 98 Carolina Nut/Curb Records Toyota.
Sauter, who swept both series races here in 2012, was among several drivers who reported battling an uncharacteristic loose condition. “I feel like I got a pretty good feel for this racetrack, especially on long run stuff,” said Sauter, a three-time race-winner this season. “We made very minute air pressure changes all night long and then as fate would have it, I kept telling them on the radio that once this thing goes towards the end of the race that it was going to cool-off and the truck would get free. Sure enough, 10 laps into that last run we were just a tick too free.
“I don’t know if we ever had anything for the No. 3 (Dillon) truck though. We’ve won here before and I was running a harder, faster pace than I ever have. Their truck must have been phenomenal.”
Four-time series champion Hornaday finished third in the No. 9 Smokey Mountain Chevrolet. Brendan Gaughan, a four-time Truck Series race-winner at TMS, was fourth in the No. 62 South Point Hotel & Casino Chevrolet while Justin Lofton finished fifth in the No. 6 Lofton Cattle Chevy.
Native Texan Buescher finished sixth, but was unable to close ground on championship leader Crafton and his No. 88 Fisher Nuts/Menards Toyota. Crafton also struggled with handling issues most of the night, but managed a 10th-place finish. Crafton, who is seeking his first series title, now leads Buescher by a comfortable 46 points with two races remaining.
Asked about his race-long difficulties, Crafton said, “Let’s put it this way – my ass hurts. This thing was so bad. It was plow, plow, plow and then snap loose and it’s like you didn’t know what it was going to do.”
The race produced eight lead changes among five drivers and three cautions for 15 laps. Dillon’s winning average speed was 145.571 mph.
Darrell Wallace Jr., who posted his first career series victory at Martinsville Speedway last week, was the highest rookie finisher in seventh. Wallace became only the second African-American driver to win a NASCAR national touring series event at Martinsville, and the first since Wendell Scott won a Grand National (now Sprint Cup) event 50 years ago.
“Good night for my team and I, and it’s really what we needed coming here,” said Wallace, driver of the No. 54 Camping World/Good Sam Toyota. “We finished sixth here in June and these aero-tracks, they’re tough. We still need to find some speed. Just too tight on the longer runs and really couldn’t do anything – moved up next to the fence and started making some ground, but the minute those guys saw me do that then they moved up there and took all the air away.
“Proud of my team – they’ve been working hard coming off the big win last week. We’re still carrying that momentum so now we can go to a track next weekend where we can actually drive it (Phoenix International Raceway) and don’t have to depend on the air that much, so I’m looking forward to that. I think we made up some ground on the points in both overall and rookie (standings), so good points day.” Wallace is sixth in points, 90 behind Crafton but only four behind fellow-rookie Jeb Burton.
– John Sturbin can be reached at firstname.lastname@example.org
WinStar World Casino 350
Texas Motor Speedway
Fort Worth, Texas
Friday, November 01, 2013
1. (3) Ty Dillon, Chevrolet, 147, $53960.
2. (8) Johnny Sauter, Toyota, 147, $38400.
3. (10) Ron Hornaday Jr., Chevrolet, 147, $28020.
4. (7) Brendan Gaughan, Chevrolet, 147, $20410.
5. (2) Justin Lofton, Chevrolet, 147, $16485.
6. (6) James Buescher, Chevrolet, 147, $16160.
7. (17) Darrell Wallace Jr. #, Toyota, 147, $14010.
8. (4) Miguel Paludo, Chevrolet, 147, $12510.
9. (23) John Wes Townley, Toyota, 147, $12410.
10. (14) Matt Crafton, Toyota, 147, $13560.
11. (16) Ryan Sieg, Chevrolet, 147, $9935.
12. (19) Joey Coulter, Toyota, 147, $11985.
13. (18) Brennan Newberry #, Chevrolet, 147, $11885.
14. (20) German Quiroga #, Toyota, 147, $11785.
15. (15) Ryan Blaney #, Ford, 147, $12735.
16. (9) Timothy Peters, Toyota, 147, $11560.
17. (12) Dakoda Armstrong, Chevrolet, 147, $11460.
18. (5) Max Gresham, Chevrolet, 147, $11360.
19. (22) Justin Jennings, Chevrolet, 146, $9010.
20. (24) Spencer Gallagher, Chevrolet, 146, $9535.
21. (13) Brad Keselowski(i), Ford, 146, $8810.
22. (26) Scott Riggs(i), Chevrolet, 145, $8710.
23. (27) David Starr, Toyota, 144, $10860.
24. (21) Tyler Young, Chevrolet, 144, $8510.
25. (29) Ryan Lynch, Chevrolet, 142, $9560.
26. (1) Jeb Burton #, Chevrolet, Out of Fuel, 140, $11610.
27. (25) Bryan Silas, Ford, 136, $8210.
28. (11) Kyle Busch(i), Toyota, Engine, 96, $8110.
29. (31) Jennifer Jo Cobb, RAM, Radiator, 54, $7985.
30. (34) Norm Benning, Chevrolet, Rear End, 38, $8385.
31. (32) Mike Harmon(i), Chevrolet, Transmission, 31, $7810.
32. (30) Chris Jones, Chevrolet, Rear End, 6, $7785.
33. (28) JJ Yeley(i), Chevrolet, Suspension, 6, $7770.
34. (33) Morgan Shepherd(i), Chevrolet, Suspension, 5, $7760.
35. (35) Chris Lafferty, Chevrolet, Transmission, 4, $7750.
Average Speed of Race Winner: 145.571 mph.
Time of Race: 1 Hrs, 30 Mins, 53 Secs. Margin of Victory: 2.663 Seconds.
Caution Flags: 3 for 15 laps.
Lead Changes: 8 among 5 drivers.
Lap Leaders: 0; T. Dillon 1-28; K. Busch(i) 29-30; T. Dillon 31-60; J. Lofton 61-63; J. Buescher 64-65; T. Dillon 66-106; R. Blaney # 107-116; T. Dillon 117-147.
Leaders Summary (Driver, Times Lead, Laps Led): T. Dillon 4 times for 130 laps; R. Blaney # 1 time for 10 laps; J. Lofton 1 time for 3 laps; J. Buescher 1 time for 2 laps; K. Busch(i) 1 time for 2 laps.
Top 10 in Points: M. Crafton – 741; J. Buescher – 695; T. Dillon – 694; J. Sauter – 667; J. Burton # – 657; D. Wallace Jr. # – 651; M. Paludo – 651; R. Blaney # – 645; B. Gaughan – 635; T. Peters – 620.4 Comments