CONCORD, NC – Austin Dillon was on fire at Charlotte Motor Speedway; at one point, literally. Dillon qualified his No. 33 Richard Childress Racing Chevrolet on the pole for Friday’s Drive for the Cure 300 by edging fellow cup driver Kasey Kahne with a speed of 183.524 mph. During pre-race activities, one of the fireworks that were set off, misfired and landed on Dillon and his car, burning his fire suit. Dillon laughed it off and went on to win the race, which capped a sweep of both XFINITY races at Charlotte this year.
“I was actually praying, and the fireworks hit me in the back,” Dillon said. “I didn’t know if it was a sign from God or what. But it got me going right there with a firework in the butt.”
After the race, Dillon thanked his team and dedicated the victory to two friends who are fighting breast cancer.
“It’s pretty cool to say we’ve swept both races at our home track,” Dillon said. “We didn’t start the race very strong. I told Danny (Stockman, crew chief) we were really tight and needed to make some adjustments. He made great calls and took big swings at it. Those guys made this Rheem Chevrolet fast. We pulled away there at the end, it was great.
“This is a special win for us not only as a team but me personally. I know two people close to me that are battling breast cancer and this win is for them. It’s an honor to be able to bring home this trophy for them. I hope it brings a few smiles when they’re having a rough day.”
Kyle Busch appeared to have the car to beat, leading a race-high 102 laps. He also took the all-time lead in the XFINITY series at Charlotte with 1,288 laps led, breaking the previous record held by Mark Martin with 1,257.
However, he lost several spots during a lap 147 restart. As he tried to work his way back to the front, he and Kahne got into a battle for third place that saw both cars touch a number of times. Busch eventually got the spot, but Kahne drove deep into Turn 3 and got into Busch which sent him into the outside wall. Both cars were damaged in the incident, but Busch clearly got the worst of it. He pulled his car off the track, finishing 31st and left without commenting.
When asked about the incident, Kahne said, “Kyle got mad because he got into it with his teammate (Jones) off Turn 2 on the start. “That shuffled him back to where I was,” Kahne continued, “and I’m racing to try to get by him. He started beating on me down the back and on the front, and I overdrove Turn 3 and got into him.”
Erik Jones was a distant second, followed by Brad Keselowski, Daniel Suarez and Regan Smith. Series leader Chris Buescher finished seventh and extended his lead in the series to 26 points over Chase Elliott who finished ninth.
The NASCAR XFINITY Series travels to Kansas Speedway next Saturday for the Kansas Lottery 300.
Click here for the complete results.