With the help of astute pit strategy that got him to the front of the field, Austin Dillon got a taste of what it’s like to be a frontrunner in the NASCAR Sprint Cup Series.
The driver of the No. 3 Richard Childress Racing Chevrolet enjoyed the experience—and he learned from it.
Dillon started from the rear of the field after a broken valve spring in practice forced an engine change. But crew chief Slugger Labbe kept Dillon on the track during a competition caution called on Lap 21, and Dillon proceeded to lead Laps 23-40.
All told, he led 19 laps, six more than he had led in 22 previous races this year, and finished a career-best fourth.
“I had fun racing Matt up front,” Dillon said. “I just couldn’t lead very well when we got out front. It was a little bit of a learning experience, I think, for me. You know Matt’s been up there a lot in his career. For me, it was my first time. So, I will learn from it and get better next time.”