Perched on the window of his No. 3 Bass Pro Shops Chevrolet, helmet still on Ty Dillon put his head in his hands.
In disbelief and frustration. Dillon had the best truck Friday night at the Texas Motor Speedway and was the leader coming down for the last restart with 23 laps to go. He had led a race high 76 laps but was passed by eventual winner Jeb Burton quickly after the restart and just as he closed back in and got to the back bumper of Burton, the checkered flag was in the air.
“Man if we had one more corner or something, a straightaway, I just needed a little bit more time,” said a disappointed Dillon afterwards. “If I could make a request to move the straightaway down like Talladega, I think I will right now.”
His restart wasn’t horrible, Dillon noted that he didn’t spin the tires and went through all the gears. When the two went into turn one Dillon was a nose ahead of Burton before losing the lead later that lap. Saying he couldn’t blame it on anyone, it came down to drafting as Burton had the 88 of Matt Crafton stuck behind him and pushing him down the backstretch, whereas Dillon was all alone on the outside.
“It was a great race, Jeb did a great job he’s deserving of that, he’s worked hard, he’s a great driver … that’s cool for him. Man, I want that hat and I want them six shooters [you get in Victory Lane]. I’ve ran really well here at Texas and I feel like it’s about my time, isn’t it?”
The Richard Childress Racing trucks of Dillon and teammate Brendan Gaughan, who’s a four-time TMS winner, were the class of the field. With Dillon’s 76 laps led, Gaughan paced the field for 44 circuits and finished fifth. It was Gaughan who Dillon learned the most from on Friday, watching as the experienced Gaughan motored past him midway through the race.
It was at that point Dillon joked he wished he had that experience. Dillon went on to praise his teammate for what he brings to RCR and how he’s made people better. Both drivers sit in the top 10 in points – Gaughan third, Dillon seventh respectively – heading into Kentucky later this month.
“There’s definitely going to be a lot of momentum coming from this, especially leading so many laps. RCR dominated the race, pretty much,” Dillon said. “ECR power, so proud of those guys, we’ve really turned our program around. Last year we were good, but this year we’re pretty awesome. We’re going to win a lot of races, as shown tonight.”
Dillon’s performance isn’t deceiving of that confidence, but his statistics can be. With how well he’s run, it’s surprising to see him as far back in the points as he is, considering he’s started just one race outside the top 10 and up until Dover his worst finish of the year was 18th.
He’s racing like a veteran however, and looking to add to his lone career win from last fall in Atlanta.
“We’ve changed some things and gotten our trucks where they really race good,” Dillon said of the company.
“We keep running like that we’ll get our fair share of wins, the cards will fall into our hands a little bit better. We’ll get ‘em next time.”