DAYTONA BEACH, Fla — For most drivers, they were anxious at getting back to racing in Sunday’s Coke Zero Sugar 400. Rain fell on the 2.5-mile track on and with just 21 laps remaining, NASCAR elected to bring the cars down pit road to red flag it.
With so few laps left and a majority of the cars in the field now taken out in wrecks, would it be best to just call it? I mean we’ve seen this before these pesky Florida rain showers that stick around for a while.
How much was NASCAR willing to wait?
Austin Dillon was hoping not long. He had not won a race in over 2 years and this one would stamp his name in the playoffs. Dillon entered this weekend at Daytona facing a must-win and he found himself in the lead after 14 laps prior finding himself a lap down.
He was good with calling it early.
I think he was expecting them to as well. He said in a wet suit in the media center for 3 hours. He watched NASCAR and NBC Sports bring in driver after driver to interview them. Dillon meanwhile had to just sit there and wait. If they called it, they wanted the winner close.
“You go in that room where they make you sit and put the camera on you forever, and it’s like you’re thinking in the back of your head that somebody is going to walk around the corner and say, Hey, congratulations, you’ve won, but you don’t let your mind drift to that. You still have laps to go,” Dillon said.
He said when that 2nd rain came and went and they didn’t call it, that they really would get back going. He had to change his mindset. Which meant he had to change his location. He wasn’t going to sit there any longer.
As a parent, mindsets are different. I know first hand. He worked with what he was given and in return, it worked inside of the race car when we got back racing after a 3+ hour rain delay.
“When they went back to replaying the race, I went to my bus and went over there and watched “Paw Patrol” with Ace because he needed a nap. He never went down. He is like me. He don’t sleep.
“Just chilled with him and watched our Carolina Cowboys. I watched them up until the time I got in the car, and I knew they had won the game, so it was cool that we won and they won in Austin, Texas. Pretty sweet day.
“It’s our first event win for the PBR team. They won and we did too. It’s an amazing day. Thank you, Jesus.”