Dillon ends Toyota's streak in Truck Series with Pocono win
Long Pond, PA (SportsNetwork.com) - Toyota had its streak of 12 wins in the Camping World Truck Series come to an end on Saturday, as Austin Dillon drove his Richard Childress Racing Chevrolet to victory lane in the Pocono Mountains 150 at Pocono Raceway.
Dillon, a rookie in the Sprint Cup Series this season and the 2011 Truck Series champion, passed Clint Bowyer for the lead after a late-race restart and then held off the field in two more restarts during the closing laps, including one for a green-white-checkered finish. He beat Johnny Sauter, in a Toyota, to the finish line by two seconds for his sixth career truck win.
Dillon received pushing help from Sauter on the final restart.
This was Dillon's second start in trucks this season. He finished 10th in the July 23 race at Eldora Speedway, a half-mile dirt track. His last win in the series came in the inaugural event at Eldora last year.
"I love coming back to run in the Truck Series. It's fun," Dillon said. "I have to thank Johnny Sauter. He helped me on that last restart, and it worked out well."
It's the first time a non-Toyota driver won a race in the series since Dillon's younger brother, Ty, took the checkered flag at Texas Motor Speedway on Nov. 1, 2013, driving a Chevrolet for RCR.
"Chevrolet has been working really hard to get their trucks better," Dillon said. "It obviously showed today. I think this will help going forward for all of the Chevys."
One week ago, Ty Dillon scored his first career win in the Nationwide Series at Indianapolis Motor Speedway. Nationwide is competing at Iowa Speedway this weekend.
Dillon led the most laps in the truck race at Pocono with 23, including the final 12.
With his second-place finish, Sauter moved to within seven points of leader Ryan Blaney, who placed fifth. Blaney won this race one year ago.
"For whatever reason, Pocono has always been an Achilles heal for me," Sauter said. "We got shuffled back and fourth. Track position seemed to be the name of the game all day long - who was pitting and who wasn't, and who was where. Restarts are really crucial at the end of these things. I gave the 3 [Dillon] the best push I could, and I probably pushed him too far away to even have a run at him. But he had a really good truck there at the end of the race."
Joey Coulter, who won here two years ago, finished third, while Bowyer, a Sprint Cup regular, took the fourth spot. Bowyer substituted for John Wes Townley, who was forced to miss this race after being involved in a hard crash during qualifying for an ARCA event on Friday at Pocono.
"The Zaxby's [team sponsor] Toyota was pretty strong," said Bowyer, who led a total of 10 laps before Dillon took the top spot for good. "We tried, and it was a lot of fun. Just to be able to jump in and give it a shot, I think we all did a pretty good job."
Kyle Larson won the pole position for this event earlier in the day. It was Larson's maiden pole in the series, and it came one day after he claimed his first pole in Sprint Cup. He will lead the field to the green flag for Sunday's 400-mile Sprint Cup race here.
Larson dominated the first half by leading 21 laps before he experienced engine problems. He ended up finishing 18th.
Matt Crafton, the defending series champion, dropped to third in the rankings with his 14th-place run. Crafton is now 12 points out of the lead.
The fourth and final caution occurred on lap 58 when Ty Reddick intentionally wrecked German Quiroga. Reddick was parked for the remainder of the race and ordered to the NASCAR hauler to discuss his on-track actions with race officials.
Several laps before their incident, Quiroga and Reddick had bumped into each other, with Reddick spinning around and making contact with the wall. It forced the third caution.
08/02 16:41:40 ET