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Notes: Dillon among many to fall at Bristol

March 16, 2013, Kenny Bruce,

Dillon couldn't avoid wreck; Bayne tries to make most of 12th-place finish

BRISTOL, Tenn. -- Austin Dillon said he “downshifted,” but couldn’t avoid the Toyota of Hal Martin. And while Dillon’s own Chevrolet didn’t look too much worse for wear, the car “was never the same” afterward, the Richard Childress Racing driver said.

Dillon was one of several drivers -- a dozen, according to the official post-race results sheet -- who failed to escape Bristol Motor Speedway unscathed during the running of the Jeff Foxworthy's Grit Chips 300.

Five cars were involved in the incident that snared Dillon, which occurred on lap 160 of the 300-lap Nationwide Series race. It began when Martin spun on the frontstretch, slid up into the wall and collected the No. 79 of Jeffrey Earnhardt. Dillon brushed the wall trying to get slowed down, the nudged into Martin’s entry.

“That was unfortunate,” Dillon, who remains sixth in points, said. “You have to account for the fact that you will have days when you just get caught up in something. To come back and finish 11th, I’m really happy with that for a day that could have been really worse.”

(View full race results)

"To come back and finish 11th, I’m really happy with that for a day that could have been really worse."

-- Austin Dillon

Bayne searches for positives

Local favorite Trevor Bayne, who hails from Knoxville, Tenn., likewise tried to put a positive spin on what was an otherwise forgettable run in the Roush Fenway Racing No. 6 Ford.

“That was a struggle,” Bayne said of his 12th-place finish. “It wasn’t at all what we wanted.”

Bayne, the 2011 Daytona 500 winner, said his team’s car was “not there” from the time the team arrived at BMS.

“That thing was so tight,” he said. “It was unfortunate; we wanted to knock out solid top-fives every week.”

The 12th-place finish did move Bayne from 13th to 12th in the point standings after four events.

Sadler ready to dig out

Elliott Sadler, on the other hand, wasn’t as fortunate, tumbling from third all the way to 10th after engine issues sidelined the Joe Gibbs Racing driver.

“Something internal … let go and I think our rocker or something like that broke; just a tough deal,” Sadler said. “So this puts us in a hole, but we have a lot of racing left to do this season and we'll try to get some of it back in California."

No regrets for Kes

Brad Keselowski led 26 laps and appeared to have one of the stronger cars. But damage after contact with Regan Smith eventually cut a tire on the Penske Racing Ford.

Keselowski, leading the race, found himself in a heated battle with Kevin Harvick and Smith when Smith, in the JR Motorsports No. 7 Chevrolet, slipped up the track and made contact just shy of the 180-lap mark.

By lap 193, Keselowski was heading to pit road with a shredded left-front tire.

“You can second-guess yourself all the time,” he said when asked if he should have pitted sooner. “I wasn’t going to give up the lead.

“Either way it would have been the same result.”

Keselowski was able to race his way back to 15th, the first car one lap down.


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