The sun sets on another great weekend for the Austin Dillon, Dow Chevrolet Racing team. Coming into the weekend Austin was averaging 12 positions better than his average and looked to build on that.
First practice showed Austin high in the running until teams switched over to qualifying trim and pushed him back to 14th. Austin upheld his practice times with a qualifying effort of 15th. Practice 2 saw him run 22nd quick which led the team to a few adjustments before final practice where he was 5th overall.
Early in the race Austin proved to be one of the fastest cars on the track. Over the long run Austin reported a developing loose condition. After first stops Slugger made a call to help tighten him up. This initial adjustment was too far and saw the 3 team fall back.
The next round of adjustments backed up on the first and Austin was again among the fastest cars on the track. The rest of the day Austin got better and better, never falling below 12th position. Held up by the 22 late in the going Austin was stalled in the 10th position. Reporting the 22 had a flat tire did nothing to encourage Logano to let Austin by.
In the final laps Logano pitted for tires and fuel allowing Austin to progress to 9th. With the caution waving just before the final lap some of the leaders pitted for fuel and tires, Slugger called for Austin to stay out. While contested initially, Dillon got up on the wheel, restarting in the 3rd position and fell back to 9th at the checkered flag.
Austin greatly improved his average finish in the desert and added another top 10 to the year. While he hasn’t won yet this year it is obviously just a matter of time. Positive attitudes throughout the team are proving beneficial in every aspect. The car seems to respond better as do all members of the team.
As noted, my 3 team move of the race went to Car Chief Greg Osbourne for delivering a car that was fast from the start and stayed fast the entire weekend. There were obvious changes over the weekend that lead to the result. From bead blowers to camber, everything worked hand in hand.
The House of the Setting Sun sees Austin drive off not with just another top 10, but as always… The hero got the girl.