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Ty Dillon avoids late-race wreck, wins second Dash 4 Cash event
RELATED: At-track photos " Full results " Standings post-race RICHMOND, Va. -- Ty Dillon had visions of a six-figure payday when he unloaded for a compact, rain-tightened NASCAR XFINITY Series event at Richmond International Raceway , but several factors stood in the way of him endorsing the check. Dillon overcame the odds and cashed in Saturday with a runner-up effort in the ToyotaCare 250 , claiming the $100,000 Dash 4 Cash bonus as the top-finishing XFINITY Series regular among the eligible four-driver pool. He did it all with an interim crew chief, a nifty move through a slam-bang restart near the end -- all happening at a race track that hadn't historically been his favorite. "You're sure we're at Richmond, right? Because this place has been really tough on me and our team as a whole," Dillon said after finishing a close .226 seconds behind race winner Dale Earnhardt Jr . "To finish second, to run the way we did all day was just impressive for us." Dillon foiled fellow Dash 4 Cash drivers Brennan Poole , Erik Jones and Justin Allgaier -- all three of whom spent time leading, but none of whom wound up in the top five at race's end. Each caught varying degrees of damage in a multi-car pileup in the next-to-last restart; Poole trudged on to finish 10th, but Jones (34th) and Allgaier (35th) each retired early with severely bent race cars. Dillon was without his regular crew chief, Nick Harrison, who was serving a one-race suspension for a technical infraction the previous week. As a result, Danny Efland -- a former driver currently serving as an engineer -- took over the pit box for the Richard Childress Racing No. 3 Chevrolet team in an interim role. Dillon sat fifth for the penultimate restart, third among Dash 4 Cash drivers. Poole held the lead, his No. 48 Chevrolet team gambling by staying on the race track with older tires to gain track position. Allgaier ran second and in position for the Dash 4 Cash prize for much of the race and lined up there for the return to green with six laps left. But Earnhardt Jr., third on the restart, dove low inside of Poole and Allgaier to forge a three-wide contest for the lead heading to Turn 1. Earnhardt vaulted to the lead, but Poole slid into Allgaier, knocking his JR Motorsports No. 7 into a prolonged slide and entangling pole-starter Jones as part of a nine-car stack but sparing Dillon from the carnage. Allgaier emerged from his battered ride, punching a trash can in frustration before entering the JRM hauler. "It sucks to run that well all day and to have nothing to show for it," Allgaier said. "Obviously being a part of the Dash 4 Cash program and was loving to go for that $100,000, but ultimately for the race win. Instead, I'm standing here in street clothes. Just a frustrating way to end the day, but we've got fast race cars and we'll be back next week." Jones, who divided the heat-race victories with Dillon, was also unable to continue, retiring after 134 of an overtime-extended 149 laps. He also had to contend with an angry Mike Harmon , who confronted the teenager in his hauler after their contact brought out the first caution flag and forced the fateful restart. "I think racing is a sport of highs and lows -- we had our highs last weekend and we have our lows this week," said Jones, who captured the Dash 4 Cash opener last weekend at Bristol. "Just an unfortunate day for us. We were off all day and then it just got worse as it went on." Poole absorbed significant damage, but limped home to register his second top-10 finish of the season. He chalked up the contact to typical short-track restarts in the late going, but also applauded his Chip Ganassi Racing crew's decision to shake up its strategy. "I think that's what you have to do, and Junior had to do what he had to do to get to the inside of me," Poole said of the late-race scramble. "I'd have done the same thing. We're all racing hard. There's only eight laps to go. The restart is really the best way to make up track position, so we're all just battling tight for it and it's just how it goes at the end of these races sometimes. You're battling as hard as you can." The next NASCAR XFINITY Series race featuring the Dash 4 Cash bonus is scheduled May 14 at Dover International Speedway . MORE: See how Dash 4 Cash work s
Chris Buescher, Ty Dillon set to battle for first at Road America
RELATED: Updated standings Chris Buescher gambled at Bristol and almost came up big. The key word in the previous sentence: 'Almost.' The 22-year-old Roush Fenway Racing driver took the lead at the .533-mile track after electing not to pit on Lap 192 of 300. Buescher paced the field for the next 106 laps, but a fuel pick-up issue on the penultimate go-around of the race ended any hopes of triumph. Buescher was relegated to 11th, while Ty Dillon finished third, cutting Buescher's NASCAR XFINITY Series points lead to 19. If Buescher didn't go for the win, he wouldn't have lost as many points to Dillon. "We had the speed, but it wasn't meant to be," Buescher said. "I'm glad we took the chance. I wouldn't change it if we could do it over again, but unfortunately it knocked us right out of a top-10 and out of a win." RELATED: Buescher: 'I'm glad we took the chance' Buescher and Dillon will continue to battle for the points lead in Saturday's Road America 180 Fired Up by Johnsonville at Road America in Elkhart Lake, Wisconsin (3 p.m. on NBCSN) -- the third and final XFINITY Series road course race of the season. The two drivers are the only competitors who finished in the top five of the previous two road course races. A natural on road courses, Buescher won at Mid-Ohio last year in addition to his two top fives while turning left and right this year. He placed 18th in his lone start at Road America last season. " Road America is a very difficult and unique road course," Buescher said. "I love road racing and look forward to the challenge." Dillon finished 19th in his first-ever series start at Road America last year. He enters Saturday's race riding a streak of four top-five finishes. "Our team is looking at the big picture and sometimes we have to take a step back and realize that this is a long season; to take it little by little," Dillon said. "This past weekend in Bristol was a perfect example -- we struggled the first part of practice but (Crew Chief) Nick (Harrison), (Race Engineer) Danny ( Efland ) and the team just took a step back and reevaluated. We have a championship to win here and it won't be easy. "We have 11 races to go and we're not going to let up."
Starting Grid: Searching for 'Pure' victory in Michigan
NASCAR.com's Matt Strickert and driver of the No. 7 NSCS Chevrolet, Regan Smith, break down all the news and notes ahead of the Pure Michigan 400.
Preview Show: Michigan
Marty Snider and Chris Rice preview the upcoming weekend at Michigan International Speedway. They talk bubble drivers for the Chase for the NASCAR Sprint Cup, Chris Buescher and Kyle Larson's outlook, and make fantasy picks.
Burton wins Keystone Light Pole at Talladega
Burton wins his sixth pole of the 2013 season
Danny Bohn Rides on Roof at UNOH Battle At the Beach
Danny Bohn Rides on Roof at UNOH Battle At the Beach.
Dillon: 'This is awesome'
Austin Dillon celebrates in victory lane with his fiancé after getting his first Bristol win.
No. 27 crew chief change made to 'spark results'
CONCORD, N.C. -- NASCAR Sprint Cup Series driver Paul Menard hopes this week's crew chief change for his No. 27 Richard Childress Racing team can provide a "spark" as the team battles to get into this year's Chase for the NASCAR Sprint Cup field. With only six races remaining before the start of the Chase, RCR officials announced Monday that veteran Danny Stockman has assumed the crew chief duties, replacing Justin Alexander. Stockman's first race with the team will be this weekend's Pennsylvania 400 at Pocono Raceway. Alexander had been Menard's crew chief since joining the team with five races remaining in the 2014 season. "Justin is a great guy and extremely smart," Menard told NASCAR.com Tuesday, adding that he expects his former crew chief to "remain within RCR in some role." "The biggest thing is we just haven't run very good this year. We felt we had to do something to try and spark some results." Menard, who is closing in on his 350th career start in NASCAR's Sprint Cup Series, qualified for the Chase last season and finished a career-best 14th. But he's yet to earn a top-five finish this year, has only two-top 10s and sits 23rd in points. He was 13th in points after 20 races last season, and 15th at this time two years ago. The 16-team Chase field consist of drivers inside the top-30 in points that have one or more wins; if fewer than 16 drivers have won through this year's cutoff race at Richmond International Raceway in September, those 16th or higher in points without a win or wins will be awarded any remaining available spots in the field. Thus far, 11 drivers have one or more wins, meaning only five spots are currently available via points. Menard trails Kyle Larson by 75 points for the final spot in the Chase Grid. "At this point, we have to win a race to get in the Chase," Menard said. "We're going to shake things up and try to make that happen." Stockman guided Austin Dillon to the NASCAR Camping World Truck Series championship in 2011 and the XFINITY Series championship in '13 at RCR. He also served as crew chief for Menard for a victory at Road America in the XFINITY Series last year. This season, he has overseen the No. 2 XFINITY Series team for RCR, which has featured drivers Dillon, Menard and Ben Kennedy. Gil Martin, RCR XFINITY Series director, will fill Stockton's role. Menard is coming off a 10th-place finish this past weekend at Indianapolis Motor Speedway, where he scored his lone Sprint Cup victory in 2011. " Danny has had a lot of success in the Truck and XFINITY Series," Menard said. "We're trying to get a spark for the team. We're consistently in the top 20, top 15 but we just haven't knocked out those top-10 and top-five finishes this season." In addition to Menard, RCR also fields Sprint Cup entries for drivers Dillon and Ryan Newman. Full-time XFINITY Series teams for the organization feature drivers Ty Dillon, Brandon Jones and Brendan Gaughan, as well as the fourth now spearheaded by Martin.
Menard charges atop opening Pocono practice
RELATED: Practice 1 results Paul Menard, potentially benefiting in his first race weekend with a new crew chief, topped the opening NASCAR Sprint Cup Series practice Friday at Pocono Raceway. Menard, driving the Richard Childress Racing No. 27 Chevrolet, clocked a best lap of 177.438 mph on the 2.5-mile track. It's the first weekend that Menard will be paired with crew chief Danny Stockman, who replaced Justin Alexander midweek. Denny Hamlin, a four-time Pocono winner, was second-fastest at 177.406 mph in the Joe Gibbs Racing No. 11 Toyota. He was just ahead of defending Sprint Cup champ Kyle Busch, his teammate and last weekend's winner at Indianapolis, in the JGR No. 18 Toyota. Carl Edwards was fourth, keeping the line of Coach Joe Gibbs' entries going. He was fourth-best at 176.977 mph in the No. 19 Toyota. Kevin Harvick, still seeking to end an 0-for-31 drought at the Tricky Triangle with his first Pocono win, completed the top five at 176.620 mph in preparation for Sunday's Pennsylvania 400 (1:30 p.m. ET, NBCSN, MRN, SiriusXM NASCAR Radio). Danica Patrick had the best 10 consecutive lap average (171.094) with Ricky Stenhouse Jr. behind her at 167.161 mph. The two were the only drivers to run 10 consecutive practice laps. Jeff Gordon turned the 22nd-fastest lap in the Hendrick Motorsports No. 88 Chevrolet, making his second straight appearance this weekend as an interim fill-in for Dale Earnhardt Jr., who is recovering from concussion-like symptoms. The session, originally scheduled for 85 minutes, was abbreviated to 63 minutes by water seeping up through seams in the 2.5-mile track's surface.
Crew chief swap powers Menard to season-best qualifying
Paul Menard and his new crew chief, Danny Stockman, talk about qualifying in third for the Pennsylvania 400 at Pocono Raceway.