After starting the season on the highest of notes with a Daytona 500 victory, Austin Dillon’s hunt for the 2018 Monster Energy NASCAR Cup Series title came up short Sunday at Charlotte Motor Speedway.
After brushing the wall earlier in the race, the Richard Childress Racing driver crunched his No. 3 Chevrolet into the wall again on Lap 65 of the inaugural Bank of America Roval 400 on the track’s road-course layout.
The damage was enough to knock Dillon out of the race, and effectively out of the playoffs. When the checkered flag dropped, it was confirmed — he finished 26 points behind the cutoff line.
“This is a crazy race,” Dillon told NBC after the incident. “I was having a good run and the No. 37 (Chris Buescher), I went through (Turns) 3 and 4 and I knew I didn’t even make a mistake. … He flicked the wheel right in the middle of the corner, and when he did, I checked and smacked the outside wall and just couldn’t save it.
“I should have just been more patient and waited for more attrition to go out. But I actually felt pretty comfortable and running good. It’s just hard to hold back in a treacherous race; and I guess I didn’t do what we needed to do.”