Austin Dillon proved once more that he thrives under pressure, clinching a victory at Daytona International Speedway over the weekend and seizing his final opportunity to make the NASCAR Cup Series playoffs.
Despite the rain, the stars aligned on the track for Dillon and the rest of the Richard Childress Racing Team at the Coke Zero Sugar 400, which marked the "Life In The Fast Lane" star's last chance to make it to the playoffs of the 2022 season.
NASCAR reports that several unexpected circumstances positioned Dillon to take the win. After narrowly escaping multiple wrecks, Dillon found himself dueling Austin Cindric for the lead. The race stopped for 3 hours, 19 minutes, and 57 seconds due to the rain, but Dillon came back from the red flag with a vengeance ready to do whatever it took to get the victory he needed to stay competitive.
Coming around Turn 1, Dillon tapped Cindric’s bumper allowing him and fellow RCR teammate Ty Reddick to pass. That’s when Reddick drafted behind Dillon all the way to the finish line, allowing the reality star to secure the victory he needed.
“There was a lot going on there,” Dillon said after the race. “I knew that if we got to the white (final lap), I was afraid somebody would — if I waited too long, I was afraid somebody would wreck behind us, so I wanted to go ahead and get the lead. We were able to get it.
“I had a big run to him, and then I had my teammate, the 8 (Reddick), back there. I knew we were in good shape there to the end. He did a good job checking up any kind of run. Just a little too much push there and got him (Cindric) loose.”
Fortunately, Cindric was able to recover from the bump and finished third. Speaking after the race, it seems there were no hard feelings between the drivers. Cindric called the hit fair play, especially given what Dillon had on the line.
After a string of middle-of-the-pack finishes in this Cup Series season, Dillon found himself in desperate need of his first win of 2022 with just three races to do it. By the time Sunday’s race at Daytona came around, it was his last chance to advance and remain competitive for his first Cup Series championship. Fortunately, as fans of “Life In The Fast Lane” know, Dillon thrives under pressure and leans on his skills, faith, and friends to help him get through.
As a result, he shared victory lane with his fellow reality TV stars: his wife, Whitney, and their best friends Paul and Mariel Swan. The day was extra special for Paul and Mariel since it marked the first race their newborn daughter, Bella, attended. Perhaps she’s the new RCR good luck charm?
The victory marks Dillon’s first of the season and his second ever at Daytona. He previously spoke with USA Insider about the track, the premiere of his show, and what it means to bring NASCAR to the masses.
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