BRISTOL, Tenn — Austin Dillon had high hopes entering Saturday night’s Bass Pro Shops Night Race. After all, the title of the race was on the hood of his No. 3 Chevrolet. This race is one that has always meant a lot to he and his family. Dillon entered the night below the cut line but not too far back. The plan was for stage points and Dillon made his way into the top 10 by the end of the second stage. He finished 8th to score three of them.
On a night that several playoff drivers were running into issues, Dillon was fighting a car not to his liking for most of it but one that was getting better as the night went on and was staying clean. If he could keep it that way over the final half of the event, then watch out. A second round berth could be his.
Unfortunately, not long into the final stage, Dillon was an innocent bystander in the Lap 276 crash that ultimately ended his night.
“I heard Daniel (Suarez) just wrecked (Ricky Stenhouse Jr.) and caused a big one,” he said. “Part of it. Wish we would have been in a little better spot. Just broke the suspension on the left front.
“We had gotten stage points and had a pretty good race car. Feeling pretty good about it. We just needed to miss that one. That was the best race car we brought. We put ourselves in a bind the first two races and brought something to race with today.”
Dillon can hang his hat on making the playoff after a race win in the regular season finale at Daytona. With 7 races remaining, his goal is to get back to victory lane before the end of it.
“We’ll just try to win a race before the year’s over,” he says.