After a sixth-place showing last Saturday at Kansas Austin Dillon returned to the top of the NASCAR Nationwide Series points standings. He’s only been there once before in the series – a three-week stint that came earlier this season.
Dillon and his No. 3 Richard Childress Racing Chevrolet team leapfrogged Penske Racing driver Sam Hornish Jr., who held a four-point advantage going into last weekend. With the series now headed to Charlotte for Friday night’s Dollar General 300, Dillon is in command with an eight-point edge.
If Dillon and his team are interested in staying atop the standings, however, they’ll need to start flexing their muscle now and throughout the remaining four races on the schedule. Through the first 29 races of the season, they have yet to visit Victory Lane.
Although Dillon’s been fast all year and has racked up 19 top-10 finishes, including the last four races, his No. 3 team is still searching for a way to put it all together and snatch that elusive win. The last time the No. 3 held the top spot in the NNS this late in a season was 1999 when Dale Earnhardt Jr. won his second consecutive title.
With Hornish experiencing a minor slump of late in which he’s finished 17th in the last two races, there is no better time for Dillon and his team to throw down the gauntlet and extend their lead in the standings.
In three NNS starts at Charlotte Dillon’s best finish is a sixth in last October’s race. After starting on the pole this past May – the first of a series-record four consecutive poles – he placed 14th. His average finishing position is 10.3. Hornish’s best showing in six races is ninth in the May 2012 race. He finished 12th this past May and has a 19.8 average finishing position at the 1.5-mile track.