After a decent first two races of the Round of 16, Austin Dillon entered Sunday’s Bank of America ROVAL 400 in a tie for ninth in points, 10 points ahead of 13th-place Clint Bowyer. The goal for Sunday was to stay out of trouble and get a good finish. That did not happen Sunday.
Dillon was running well until he ran across a slow Chris Buescher early in the Final Stage.
“I went through [Turns 13 and 14], trying to pass Chris Buescher. He had damage and got loose, I think,” Dillon said outside of the Infield Care Center. “I was so close to him that I had to lift. When I lifted, I got loose and got into the outside wall.
The first issue resulted in Dillon brushing the outside wall. The team brought Dillon to pit road under yellow to make repairs. Unfortunately, that wasn’t the end of his problems. In an attempt to get himself back up in the hunt, Dillon was too aggressive over the “Turtle Curbs.” That aggression ultimately resulted in a blown right front tire in Turn 14. On the 24-degree banking, a blown right front tire means a one-way trip to the SAFER Barrier and that’s exactly where Dillon ended up.
This time, the damage was severe enough that the right front wheel refused to turn. The crew took one look at the car and told Dillon to back up and take it to the garage.
“It’s disappointing [to be out of playoff contention], Dillon continued. “We made a push [to advance], but it just didn’t come around our way.”
The 39th-place finish completely ended any hopes that Dillon had of advancing to the Round of 12. He ends the Round of 16 in 14th.