The “best car” Richard Childress Racing has fielded for Austin Dillon was towed to the garage after Stage 2 at Michigan.
Dillon’s Chevrolet was junked after a crash on lap 121 in the Firekeepers Casino 400, following contact with Brad Keselowski. Coming to the stage finish, Dillon charged to the inside of Keselowski off Turn 4 and had the momentum to make the pass and finish sixth. But Keselowski kept chasing Dillon down to the apron, and the two collided, which turned Dillon into the outside wall and his car over on its side before coming back down on four tires.
Dillon was uninjured in the crash. He will likely need to win the regular-season finale at Daytona to make the playoffs.
“I was just trying to get as many stage points as I could get right there, and did a good job drafting, came down to the apron, and I’ve seen just one quick replay, but it was after the start/finish line,” Dillon said. “I was starting to come up off the apron because it’s so rough down there, but I figured by that point he would have given me a little room.
“Thankfully, the good Lord kept me safe today; that was a heck of a wreck. I feel fine. I hate it for BREZTRI and my guys, most of all. They built a rocket ship, and they really wanted this one, and I did too. (We were) working our tails off right there. I think we would have had a shot to do something at the end with that race car. Best race car we’ve brought to the track this year at RCR, I feel like, and just a bummer. But we’ve got Daytona left and just hate it. I don’t know why it happened really. I thought I had a little room to come up, and he just held me down there a little too long, I guess.”
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On his team’s radio, Keselowski said he didn’t mean to wreck Dillon. Keselowski acknowledged he was trying to follow Dillon to the apron while side drafting to try and hold Dillon down.
Dillon finished third in the first stage and sixth in the second stage to earn 13 points toward his fight for a playoff spot. In both stages, Dillon finished ahead of teammate Tyler Reddick, who entered the day with a 15-point advantage on Dillon.
Dillon led two laps Sunday.