Austin Dillon eliminated from NASCAR Playoffs after Charlotte wreck

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.

MORE: Who’s in, who’s out of playoffs?Race results

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.”