Dillon outduels NASCAR Camping World Truck Series heavyweights
With a two-tire call on a late-race pit stop, Austin Dillon stole Friday night’s Fast Five 225 Camping World Truck Series race at Chicagoland Speedway from Kevin Harvick, who had dominated the event until the last round of stops.
Dillon won his second race of the season and the fourth of his career. Harvick came home second, almost five seconds back. Nelson Piquet Jr., Parker Kligerman and Kyle Busch completed the top five.
"This is the biggest win of my career, I think," Dillon, 21, said in victory lane. "I ran up there, racing with Kyle and Harvick. Harvick was great all night, but (crew chief Danny) Stockman made the call at the end to put us out on two tires.
"He knows when I get out front it’s like smelling blood for a shark. When we got out there, we could just take off. The team—they kept gaining spots every time we came on pit road. I love coming on pit road when they’re like that. It’s awesome."
Dillon moved up two spots in the series standings to second and trimmed 11th-place finisher James Buescher’s lead to three points. Johnny Sauter, who finished sixth, is six points back in third.
Harvick had led 99 laps by the time he came to pit road for his final stop on Lap 129 of 150.
Harvick took four tires, a decision necessitated by a vibration Harvick’s truck picked up during a green-flag run of 42 laps. That decision allowed Busch (who pitted on Lap 130 and took two tires) and Dillon (who came to pit road on Lap 131) to cycle out ahead of Harvick.
As Busch and Harvick battled for the second position, Dillon began to pull away, opening a lead of more than 4.7 seconds over Harvick with seven laps left.
"That definitely dictated a four-tire call," Harvick said of the vibration. "On the caution before (on Lap 84) we didn’t take any tires, so we had about 22 more laps on our tires. When you have a vibration like that, you want to win the race, but in the big picture—and the even bigger picture on Sunday (in the first Chase for the NASCAR Sprint Cup race)—we don’t need to blow a tire and have something happen.
"So when it got to the point of shaking bad enough to where I knew something was changing, I just came in and changed four tires. I knew at that point, they (Dillon and Busch) were going to do the opposite, but we had to change four."