July 4, 2015
By Jeff Olson
NASCAR Wire Service
DAYTONA BEACH, Fla. – Austin Dillon led just nine laps Saturday night, including the one that mattered most.
Dillon, grandson of legendary team owner Richard Childress, outlasted Elliott Sadler and Chase Elliott during a green-white-checkered finish to claim the crash-filled Subway Firecracker 250, the NASCAR XFINITY Series race at Daytona International Speedway.
“This is Daytona, man,” Dillon said during the post-race celebration. “There are so many family memories here. … I’m just happy for my grandfather. He told me once when we were here in Victory Lane with Dale Earnhardt that you’ll have this opportunity one day. It means so much to be here.”
A multi-car crash on Lap 96 of the 100-lap race took out Brian Scott, who led 84 laps and was in front when the crash started. Scott moved to the outside line to block Elliott Sadler, but was spun out, collecting several cars. Dillon slipped through the crash, then stayed ahead of Elliott after the final restart.
Sadler recovered from the crash and surged past Elliott as the field reached the checkered flag to finish second. Afterward, he blamed Scott for the crash.
“Either Brian’s spotter or Brian tried to make the move too late to block us,” Sadler said. “We were already up to his right rear door. It wrecked us, man. This is Daytona. It’s a shame. We had a car good enough to win.”
Scott admitted the move was aggressive and poorly timed, but said he thought Sader could have given him room.
“I told myself I was going to be aggressive, and I was going for the win,” Scott said. “I was trying to time that run. I knew the outside lane was coming. Obviously I mistimed it a little bit, but I still felt like I gave them room to split me and go high. Instead of going high on me, he turned me into the wall.”
Dillon scored his third XFINITY Series win of 2015 and fifth of his career, putting a smile on his grandfather’s face.
“It’s cool any time you win here at Daytona,” Childress said.
A 12-car pile-up with 10 laps to go collected the top two in the XFINITY points standings – Chris Buescher and Ty Dillon – and set the stage for a restart with five laps remaining. Scott restarted ahead of Sadler and Austin Dillon.
Sadler fell behind in the outside line but regained momentum and appeared to be ready to pass Scott, who was leading the inside line. Scott moved up to get in front of Sadler, but didn’t have enough room and was turned into the wall.
The crash left only nine cars on the lead lap. Dillon restarted ahead of Dakoda Armstrong and Chase Elliott for the green-white-checkered finish, and Elliott quickly moved into second on the low line. He finished third, followed by Kasey Kahne, Benny Gordon and Armstrong.