CONCORD, N.C. — The difference was one point for Ty Dillon.
Dillon was the first driver out of a transfer spot when the Xfinity Series Chase cut the field from 12 to eight Sunday night at Charlotte Motor Speedway in the Drive for the Cure 300. After finishing 11th, one lap down, team owner Richard Childress apologized on the team’s radio to his grandson after the checkered flag.
“Gave you a piece of (expletive), sorry about that. Man, we just go try to win some races.”
Dillon told NBCSN: “We were terrible today and didn’t give ourselves much of a shot. For whatever reason, our car was not the same today … It’s heartbreaking. We couldn’t even stay on the lead lap. It’s very upsetting. I wanted this championship so bad. It hurts.”
Crew chief Nick Harrison also didn’t hide his disappointment.
“We didn’t have a car fast enough today capable of making it,” he told NBC Sports in the garage. “Disheartening, but part of it. Just got to keep our head up, move on, try to win some races before the year’s up.”
Dillon entered Sunday’s race needing to make up three points to advance. A crash in the Chaser opener at Kentucky Speedway and a 27th-place finish put the team last on the Chase grid. Second place last weekend at Dover International Speedway closed the gap, however, Dillon wound up needing his competitors to have trouble in Charlotte.
Two did in Brennan Poole and Darrell Wallace Jr., but it wasn’t enough. While Poole was eliminated after finishing 18th, Harrison gave credit to Wallace’s team for making up the necessary ground. Dillon, Harrison said, didn’t have a car fast enough to build the gap he needed even though he finished nine spots ahead of Wallace.
“It’s heartbreaking,” Austin Dillon said of his younger brother. “I hate it for him. I don’t know what else we could have done. As a whole, RCR is struggling in the Xfinity Series now. We’ve just got to give him a better car (and) he makes it into the next round.’’
Austin Dillon, who was running a spot ahead of his younger brother, got the free pass on what was the race’s final caution on Lap 185. That left Ty Dillon unable to get on the lead lap and have the opportunity to gain any more positions – and points – that could have helped him advance.
As for what he’ll tell his brother, Austin said, “Go out and try to win races. From right here, it’s nothing fun about it. I wish he was going on to the next round. He really deserves it. It’s just a bummer. The 44 (JJ Yeley) and 48 (Poole) got into it back there, and it made the 44 pit too. And that was another position that he lost. I don’t know. Not good.’’
Harrison will share the same sentiment with his driver when the two sit down and talk about the first round of the Chase.
“I think you just have to move forward and keep your head up and be big boys,” Harrison said. “We’ve had an up and down season, definitely want to get some wins and have been close, we just haven’t. That wreck in Kentucky put us in a hole that we really didn’t need; we could have used our consistency to try and get us is, but we got in a hole, and we didn’t run good enough today to advance.”