NASCAR & Auto Racing

NASCAR: Austin Dillon wins Saturday’s Hisense 300 Xfinity Series race

NASCAR Xfinity Series driver Austin Dillon, left, smiles as he is assisted in lifting the the Hisense 300 trophy after winning the race at Charlotte Motor Speedway in Concord, Saturday, May 23, 2015.
NASCAR Xfinity Series driver Austin Dillon, left, smiles as he is assisted in lifting the the Hisense 300 trophy after winning the race at Charlotte Motor Speedway in Concord, Saturday, May 23, 2015. jsiner@charlotteobserver.com

Austin Dillon’s return to semi-regular competition in the Xfinity Series this season continues to pay big dividends.

Dillon had the dominant car and led 163 of 200 laps on his way to a victory in Saturday’s Hisense 300 at Charlotte Motor Speedway, his second series win in nine starts this season.

Denny Hamlin broke into the lead on a restart following the third caution of the race but Dillon methodically ran him down to retake the lead on Lap 186.

Kasey Kahne finished third, Regan Smith was fourth and Darrell Wallace Jr. was fifth.

Dillon, who won the series championship in 2013, ran just one series race last season, when he joined the Sprint Cup series fulltime.

Turning point

Hamlin grabbed the lead on a restart on Lap 167 and quickly put some distance on his competitors. Dillon, however, slowly ran him down and whipped around him for the lead with 14 laps remaining. He wasn’t seriously challenged after that.

Three who mattered

Austin Dillon: All four of Dillon’s Xfinity Series wins have come after winning the pole.

Denny Hamlin: Despite a loose wheel and getting off-sequence in pit stops, Hamlin fought his way back into contention for the win late in the race.

Regan Smith: A phenomenal pit stop late in the race helped propel Smith into a battle for the lead.

Observations

▪  Hamlin could be shaping up for a great weekend. He won the Sprint All-Star Race last weekend and finished second in Saturday’s Xfinity race. On Sunday, he’ll try to become just the eighth driver to win both the All-Star Race and Coca-Cola 600 in the same season.

▪  The top four Xfinity Series regulars in Saturday’s race - Regan Smith, Darrell Wallace Jr., Daniel Suarez and Ty Dillon - qualified for the “Dash 4 Cash” program’s $100,000 bonus next weekend at Dover, Del. The highest finisher of those four at Dover wins the bonus.

They said it

“This car was just so fast. I didn’t want to get out of this thing, it drove so good.” – race winner, Austin Dillon

N@SCAR

Three tweets from Saturday’s race:

Next race

Buckle Up 200

Where: Dover (Del.) International Speedway.

When: 2:30 p.m. May 30.

TV: Fox.

Radio: Motor Racing Network.

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