He had the fastest car in practice, and he had the fastest car in qualifying. The trend continued through the weekend as Austin Dillon would dominate the Boyd Gaming 300 at Las Vegas Motor Speedway. It marks his third career victory.
“Hats off to these guys,” Dillon commented. “It was a great car, and man, there at the end the 22 (Ryan Blaney) put a heck of a job on. Can’t say enough for Nick and these guys. These guys did a great job. Pit stops were good, just a solid day. When you have something like this, you don’t want to mess it up with all the restarts. And wow, we did it. A great final last two laps.”
While Dillon dominated the race during throughout, he had to fend off a late car from Ryan Blaney, after Blaney went down pit road for four tires with 24 laps to go while the leaders stayed out. Blaney chased down Dillon after restarting eighth, and looked to be poised for a move with two to go, however Dillon through the block down the frontstretch. That block was all it took as Dillon was able to stay ahead the rest of the way, giving him the victory.
“It kept getting tighter so I just kept backing it up and making sure that he would have to pass me on entry, not exit,” Dillon commented.
The second place finish for Blaney in his first start of the season hands him his 13th career top-five finish in 31 starts.
“It was a great call to come get tires and tighten me up,” Blaney shared. “It was really loose all day and that brought it up. We were coming – and he did what he had to do to stop my run. Really excited to be back in this car and being in the XFINITY Series. Hopefully the next race will be a little smoother for us.”
Regan Smith would run inside the top-10 all day, finishing third for his first top-five finish since last October.
The Great Clips Chevy was fast all day, and these guys worked hard all day, all off-season,” Smith commented. “I’m really excited about having Jason Burdett on the box. We dug ourselves a hole at Daytona, so it’s good to get some points. We struggled on the mile and a halves last year, so it’s great to get a top-five finish.”
Denny Hamlin and Chase Elliott rounded out the top-five, followed by Brendan Gaughan, Darrell Wallace Jr., Ty Dillon, Brennan Poole and Aric Almirola. Daniel Saurez fought back to an 11th place finish after struggling in practice on Friday, followed by Dale Earnhardt Jr., Elliott Sadler, Chris Buescher, Ryan Reed and J.J. Yeley. Ty Dillon now leads the points standings, six points ahead of Chris Buescher.
Erik Jones ran inside the top 10 through0ut the race, though contact with Blaney would result in heavy contact with the wall with 28 laps to go. Blaney got loose underneath Jones, sliding up and getting into Jones. Jones would over-correct, causing the car to hit the front stretch wall head-on. Blaney apologized afterwards for the contact, saying that he couldn’t keep himself off of Jones.
“The 22 just lost it, obviously,” Jones said. “Not a lot of car control on his end today. Really unfortunate to be taken out that late in the race. The ending doesn’t take away from our day. We had a fast car, ran up front throughout the whole day.”
Jones wouldn’t be the only driver that made heavy contact with the wall as Dakoda Armstrong would make heavy contact with the wall following contact from David Starr while running three-wide.