After illness sidelined Brennan Newberry from piloting the No. 24 Qore-24 Chevrolet Silverado in the EnjoyIllinois.com 225 at Chicagoland Speedway, 2011 NASCAR Camping World Truck Series (NCWTS) Champion and Chevrolet teammate Austin Dillon stepped up to the driver seat for the 16th stop of the season.
Spending Friday morning's practice session getting accustomed to the NTS team and getting the No. 24 to his liking, Dillon was able to secure the 10th starting position in the afternoon qualifying session in preparation for 150 laps under the lights at Chicagoland Speedway.
With the green flag in the air, Dillon immediately began to move to the front of the field taking over the fourth position on lap 10. Moving into the third position on lap 12, Dillon reported to the team that the No. 24 Chevrolet was a "tick snug" as the caution flag waved for the first time. Opting to pit for fuel only, and with varying pit strategies coming into play, Dillon restarted the race in the 10th position on lap 18, radioing the team, "I'll tell you what, this is fun!"
Dillon was able to pass several trucks to take over the seventh position on lap 32 where he would remain until the second caution on lap 47. The team called Dillon to pit road for four tires and fuel, sending the No. 24 Qore-24 Chevrolet Silverado back on track in the ninth position for the restart.
Battling for the ninth position with teammate Ron Hornaday, Dillon was able to maintain his spot and advance to seventh on lap 60. Reporting to the team that the truck was getting tight, crew chief Eddie Pardue assured Dillon that his lap times were quick even with the tight-handling condition.
The race was again slowed on lap 67 for a caution and Pardue called for a fuel-only stop. The team restarted the race on lap 72 from the eighth position. With a quick caution on lap 74, Dillon stayed on track and restarted the race on lap 81 from the fifth spot.
As the race closed in on the final 50 laps, the final caution flag of the race waved on lap 99 and Pardue called Dillon to pit road for his final stop of the 150-lap event. The team changed four tires, made a round of adjustments and filled the No. 24 Silverado with Sunoco fuel. The race restarted on lap 107 with Dillon in the 11th place.
With tight racing and a fast No. 24 Qore-24 Silverado, Dillon was able to move back into the top 10 on lap 113 and in the closing laps, was able to gain several more spots to finish seventh in the EnjoyIllinois.com 225. The finish marked the Qore-24 team's best finish this season.
Austin Dillon Post Race Thoughts:
"I would like to thank NTS Motorsports for the opportunity to race at Chicagoland Speedway in the NASCAR Camping World Truck Series this weekend. The Qore-24 truck was very fast all day and I was happy to work with a Crew Chief like Eddie Pardue. Our seventh-place finish was good for the team, but with some more track position and one more adjustment, I know we would have been fighting for NTS Motorsports' first win. Best wishes to Brennan Newberry on a quick recovery."
NTS Motorsports PR