Austin Dillon drove to a top-10 finish in Friday night's North Carolina Education Lottery 200 at Charlotte Motor Speedway.
After Thursday's on track activity was canceled due to weather, NASCAR extended Friday's lone practice session to two hours. With only having two hours to fine tune for the night's 134-lap race, Dillon and crew chief Jeff Hensley didn't waste any time. After making several small changes, Dillon posted the 12th-quickest time of a 30.072 seconds.
Dillon lined his No.20 Ranch Hand Truck Accessories Chevrolet on the inside of row 7 following NASCAR's knockout style qualifying. Hensley made the decision to make a few more changes following qualifying, forcing Dillon to start from the tail end of the field.
When the green flag fell Dillon immediately started his charge towards the front and cracked inside the top-20 at lap 10. When the first caution flag flew at lap 20, Dillon pitted from 15th for four tires, fuel and a track-bar adjustment noting the chassis was a bit on the tight side. With a great pit stop Dillon picked up three positions on pit road and restarted 12th at lap 25.
Dillon moved as high as second at lap 35. At lap 50 had slid back to fifth and as the long green flag runs went on the chassis went away from him getting tight through the center of the corner. At lap 69 Dillon pitted for four tires, fuel, and another chassis adjustment. Restarted eighth and moved back into the top-five at lap 75 when the fourth caution flag flew.
Dillon continued to run inside the top-five through final stages of the race until a late race caution. Dillon restarting fifth after taking fuel only couldn't get the turn he needed on the inside groove and slid back nearly outside the top-10 before he started moving back forward and finally into seventh where brought home a solid top-10 finish.
Austin Dillon's Post-Race Thoughts:
"I had a lot of fun out there. The NASCAR Camping World Truck Series is so much fun. It was a tough decision on whether to take four tires or two tires at the end of the race. I want to thank Ranch Hand Truck Accessories and NTS for allowing me to come race with them."
Jeff Hensley's Post-Race Thoughts:
"I am proud of Austin and this entire NTS Motorsports team, they fought adversity all day and overcame it and it shows with another solid top-10. We're right on the edge just need to get over this hump and we can be a serious contender week in and week out."