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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."
Larson on falling short: 'I'm used to it by now'
Kyle Larson talks after a coming up short of a victory in the Hisense 4K TV 300 at Charlotte Motor Speedway.
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.
Race Rewind: NASCAR Sprint All-Star Race in 15
Relive all the moments from the NASCAR Sprint All-Star Race at Charlotte Motor Speedway in just 15 minutes.
All-Star Grid Walk: 'Only Michael Waltrip I know is a dancer'
Michael Waltrip and Bryson Byrnes, son of Steve Byrnes, stroll the NASCAR Sprint All-Star Race grid to see if Tony Stewart, Denny Hamlin and others can lay claim to $1 million.
Preview Show: NASCAR Sprint All-Star Race
Denny Hamlin, driver of the No. 11 FedEx Toyota, joins Marty Snider and Chris Rice on the Preview show Presented by FedEx to help break down the changes for the upcoming NASCAR Sprint All-Star Race.
NASCAR suspends Pearn; six teams docked points
RELATED: Grading every driver after Atlanta " Relive the weekend in photos NASCAR officials have suspended crew chief Cole Pearn for one NASCAR Sprint Cup Series points race and fined the Furniture Row Racing employee $50,000 for a rules violation that took place during last week's race weekend at Atlanta Motor Speedway . In addition, driver Martin Truex Jr . has been penalized 15 championship driver points and team owner Barney Visser has been penalized 15 championship owner points. The infraction, which involved the roof flap(s), was found during pre-race inspection for Sunday's Folds of Honor QuikTrip 500 at AMS. According to a statement from Furniture Row Racing , the organization will appeal the penalty: "Due to the severity of the P3 penalty levied against Furniture Row Racing and its crew chief Cole Pearn today (Wednesday), the No. 78 Sprint Cup team has informed NASCAR it will appeal the decision. The infraction, which was immediately corrected following technical inspection at Atlanta Motor Speedway last week, was safety related and not competition related. We sincerely appreciate that NASCAR has an appeal process so we can review the level of the penalty." Because the team is appealing the penalty, Pearn's suspension and fine are temporarily deferred until the matter is heard. The Furniture Row team was one of 10 Sprint Cup teams either fined or the recipients of warnings at Atlanta. The loss of points drops Truex from second to ninth heading into this weekend's Kobalt 400 at Las Vegas Motor Speedway . Randall Burnett, crew chief of the No. 47 JTG Daugherty entry with driver AJ Allmendinger , has been fined $15,000 and placed on probation through Dec. 31 in addition to the loss of 10 championship driver and owner points. The team was penalized for rear wheel crush panel issues that came to light during pre-qualifying inspection on Friday. Allmendinger falls from 26th to 30th with the points deduction. Richard Childress Racing crew chiefs Slugger Labbe (No. 3), Justin Alexander (No. 27) and Luke Lambert (No. 31), as well as crew chief Dave Winston (No. 95 Circle Sport Leavine Family Racing ), have also been fined $15,000 and placed on probation through Dec. 31 while also losing 10 championship owner and driver points. According to the penalty report, those teams were in violation of Rule 20.4 e -- Unless otherwise stated, all body attachment mounts and supports used to connect body components to the chassis must be constructed of magnetic steel round tubing with a minimum outside diameter of 0.168 inch and a maximum outside diameter of 0.5 inch. All body attachment mounts and supports must be non-adjustable and completely welded at both ends. Four teams received warnings for failing template inspection on multiple occasions (Nos. 32, 83, 88 and 98). The No. 32 Go Fas Racing with driver Jeffrey Earnhardt failed template inspection (pre-qualifying) three times; in addition to a written warning, the team will lose 15 minutes of practice time. The No. 83 BK Racing entry with driver Matt DiBenedetto , the No. 88 Hendrick Motorsports entry of Dale Earnhardt Jr . and the No. 98 of Cole Whitt (Premium Motorsports) failed template inspection twice (pre-qualifying) and received written warnings. Truex finished second to Denny Hamlin at Daytona in the closest finish in the history of that event (0.01 second). Sunday at Atlanta, Truex finished seventh and was second in points through the season’s first two races. RELATED: Truex comes up short at Daytona Pearn, 33, was placed on probation through Dec. 31, 2016 following this year's season-opening Daytona 500 for an infraction regarding the roof flap(s) on the No. 78 Toyota before Coors Pole Award qualifying. The team was unable to make the necessary corrections in time to allow Truex to make a qualifying attempt. Pearn said of the Daytona issue that the roof flap was "propped up too much" and rather than correct the problem on the grid, officials "wanted us to put (the car) back through templates before we adjusted it. We just didn't have time to get back there and do that before we got back out." In the NASCAR XFINITY Series, crew chief Danny Stockman (RCR No. 2 Chevrolet) was fined $5,000 (rear alignment measurement issues). Six NXS teams received written warnings for failing LIS twice during pre-race inspection -- JR Motorsports No. 1 ( Elliott Sadler ), RCR No. 3 ( Ty Dillon ) and No. 33 ( Brandon Jones ), Kaulig Racing No. 11 ( Blake Koch ), JGL Racing No. 24 ( Corey Lajoie ) and Jeremy Clements Racing No. 51 ( Jeremy Clements ). One NASCAR Camping World Truck Series team was penalized post-Atlanta -- the No. 86 Brandon Brown Racing Chevrolet with driver Brandon Brown . The team received a written warning for a truck trailing arm that did not meet specifications. MORE: Previewing Las Vegas " Complete schedule for Vegas
Dillon, crew chief's bond linked to strong '16 start
RELATED: See all the schemes for Phoenix " On-track photos from Friday AVONDALE, Ariz. -- The relationship between crew chief and driver is always an interesting one. The crew chief can serve as coach, confidant, motivator, psychologist and in the case of Austin Dillon and Slugger Labbe, a "brother." "We are like two brothers a little bit. We are both very aggressive personalities," Dillon said of his crew chief on Friday at Phoenix International Raceway , site of Sunday's NASCAR Sprint Cup Series Good Sam 500 (3:30 p.m. ET, FOX, MRN, SiriusXM NASCAR Radio). "He is not afraid to tell me when he thinks I've messed up and I'm not afraid to tell him when I think he has messed up." Dillon and Labbe's fiery exchange last weekend during the Sprint Cup Series Kobalt 400 at Las Vegas Motor Speedway showcased the intensity of both sides during a tire call on a pit stop at the 1.5-mile track. Dillon went on to overcome a speeding penalty on pit road to record a fifth-place finish in the race, his first top five of the season and first at an intermediate track in his Sprint Cup career. RELATED: Listen to Dillon on radio with crew chief "It's a part of being intense," Dillon said. "I've been intense in all the different levels of racing I've come up through here. I felt like we lacked a little bit of that intensity that I'm used to when we got to the Cup Series. Slugger kind of brought that back to me." Dillon likened his communication with Labbe to that which he had with Danny Stockman Jr., who guided him to championships in the NASCAR XFINITY Series (in 2013) and the NASCAR Camping World Truck Series (in 2011). Stockman is now the crew chief for the No. 2 XFINITY Series team for which Dillon is one of the drivers. "Slugger is really good at being blunt with things and I've learned to be able to take it, and he can take it, too. That is what I love about him. I can tell him right to his face, 'Hey this is no good.' He will go to work on it. Same with me, if he thinks I'm not driving right, I will go to work, too. "We've got a pretty good understanding throughout our team that we are a family on and off the track. If we get into each other, it's like the big brother/little brother rule -- you can mess with him all you want, but no one else can. When it comes down to it, we've got each other's backs. We want the best, we want to win." That intensity has served him well in his pairing with Labbe thus far as Dillon moves closer to getting to Victory Lane for the first time in the Sprint Cup Series. The driver of the No. 3 Richard Childress Racing Chevrolet is enjoying the best stretch of his Cup career. The 25-year-old sits ninth in the point standings coming into Phoenix thanks to a top five, two top 10s and a near top 10. (A ninth-place at Daytona and a fifth-place at Las Vegas with an 11th-place finish at Atlanta in between.) "If you look back to last year, we have kind of had this streak going to the end of last year," Dillon said. "I really enjoy working with Slugger and my group of engineers that are with me. … The work is paying off we just have to keep plugging along and never stop working." Since Labbe was placed atop the pit box for the No. 3 team in late June of 2015, Dillon has six top 10s in 24 races with the veteran crew chief. To put that in perspective, Dillon recorded just five top 10s with Gil Martin on top of the pit box for 51 races before RCR made the crew chief change. With those gains, Dillon's growth as a driver has not gone unnoticed in the garage. "I think Austin himself is a student of the sport and he's paid attention to what he needs to do, how he needs to do things and he continuously gets better," Kevin Harvick , driver of the No. 4 Stewart-Haas Racing Chevrolet and a former driver at RCR, said on Friday. "You can see that from the outside looking in that he wants to concentrate on his job and he wants to go out and get better each and every week. I think a lot of that really started to stem last year from the success that he had in the XFINITY car. As we went through the year, the more success he had, the better he got on Sunday. I think a lot of that just has to do with him getting better as a driver. He is in tune with what is happening on the race track and with the race car it seems just by looking in." MORE: Can Harvick win again at Phoenix? " Harvick talks future with SHR