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NASCAR Xfinity: Austin Dillon wins rain-shortened race at Michigan

BROOKLYN, MI – JUNE 09: Austin Dillon, driver of the #3 Bass Pro Shops/Cabela’s Chevrolet, poses in Victory Lane with team owner Richard Childress after winning the NASCAR Xfinity Series LTi Printing 250 at Michigan International Speedway on June 9, 2018 in Brooklyn, Michigan. (Photo by Daniel Shirey/Getty Images)

By AMANDA VINCENT

Richard Childress Racing snapped a 55-race NASCAR Xfinity Series winless streak with a one-two finish by winner Austin Dillon and runner-up Daniel Hemric on Saturday in the LTi Printing 250 at Michigan International Speedway.

“We definitely needed that win for our Xfinity Series team,” Dillon said. “It was great to have the 21 (Daniel Hemric) up there shoving me around. He had our back. If we didn’t have the strategy, the rain coming, he was going to have a great shot to win also.”

Rain interfered with the on-track schedule at MIS throughout the day on Saturday, especially when it came to the Xfinity Series, forcing the cancellation of qualifying, delaying the start of the race by three hours and abbreviating the race from a 125-lap scheduled distance to 91 laps.

“I promise the guy that’s second is going to say they threw it (checkered flag) way too early, and I’m that guy today,” Hemric said. “I applaud them for saving race cars and all that stuff and get all these guys back home to their families tonight.”

Dillon was counting on that rain when he stayed out during a rash of late-race cautions, hoping rain would force NASCAR’s hand into calling the race early, before he ran out of fuel. The call paid off when Dillon was close to running out of fuel.

Xfinity Series points leader Elliott Sadler made a similar decision after winning the second of two 30-lap stages. He was running third when the yellow flag waved on lap 56 and opted to stay out, inheriting a lead the he maintained for one green-flag lap that remained in the stage. Then, despite staying out during the lap-56 yellow, he stayed out again during the next caution at stage-end.

Sadler, though, was taken out of contention, courtesy of an incident that also involved Alex Bowman and Austin Cindric on lap 73. Sadler was able to continue, but he had to make an unscheduled pit stop for a cut tire a few laps later. As a result, he wound up with a 30th-place finish, his first finish of the year outside the top-10.

Kyle Busch was the winner of the first stage after starting on the pole and leading 28 of the first 30 laps. He led a total of 29 of the 91 laps completed and finished sixth.

Other top-10 finishers included Cole Custer in third, Ryan Reed fourth and Paul Menard in fifth.

“Today we were just in the right place at the right time and had a great strategy,” Custer said. “I think my crew chief (Jeff Meendering) had a great strategy and got us track position at the end. Our Code 3 Ford Mustang was pretty solid. It was hard to pass, and you didn’t want to be on the bottom. We had some things go our way and ended up third, there.”

Finsihing seventh through 10th were Tyler Reddick, Kevin Harvick, Justin Allgaier and Ryan Truex.

Saturday’s race was the second-consecutive for the Xfinity Series featuring the aerodynamic package debuted by the series in last year’s race at Indianapolis Motor Speedway, including restrictor plates, aero ducts and taller spoilers.

“My hats are off to NASCAR for looking at different packages for our product out there,” car owner Richard Childress said. “Like everything, when you very first start running like this, I’m sure they’ll tweak on it a little bit, but I was impressed by how close the field was. I looked up after quite a few laps, and nobody had been lapped.”

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Posted by on June 10, 2018. Filed under Breaking News,Featured,NASCAR,NASCAR Xfinity. You can follow any responses to this entry through the RSS 2.0. You can leave a response or trackback to this entry

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