Austin Dillon caps off perfect Xfinity weekend with Las Vegas win, Erik Jones hits wall head-on (video)

1 Comment

Although he dominated, leading 183 of 200 laps, Austin Dillon had to hold off a strong late-race challenge by Ryan Blaney to win Saturday’s Boyd Gaming 300 NASCAR Xfinity race at Las Vegas Motor Speedway.

Dillon’s win capped a perfect two days for the driver of the No. 33 Richard Childress Racing Chevrolet. He was fastest in both practices Friday, won the pole earlier Saturday and took the checkered flag.

“It feels great, this is a big confidence booster for me,” Dillon told Performance Racing Network in Victory Lane. “Our guys worked hard on this car all weekend and it was superfast, and you just don’t want to give anything like that away.

“Ryan Blaney made me earn it. He was catching me at three-tenths a lap, and I started wondering what I did wrong. It’s fun, but I’m glad he pushed me like that at the end.”

It was Dillon’s third career win in the Xfinity Series, and his first since the 2012 season, one year before he won the series’ championship.

Dillon also has a prior win in the Camping World Truck Series at Las Vegas.

Blaney cut Dillon’s 1.5-second lead to less than a one-car margin before getting into the Turn 4 wall on the last lap, ending his hope of catching Dillon.

“We had a shot at it in the last lap, slipped a bit, wasn’t able to get to his side and unfortunately hit the fence on Turn 4 coming to the checkered (flag),” Blaney, who finished second, told PRN.

Regan Smith finished third, followed by Denny Hamlin, Chase Elliott, Brendan Gaughan, Darrell Wallace Jr., Ty Dillon, Brennan Poole and Daniel Suarez.

“We had a good car all day, we just got jammed up at the start of the race and had a bad pit stop right after that that put us back to 15th,” Smith told PRN. “We were able to chip away with it and get the runs we needed. We’ll take it.

“Mile-and-a-halvess have been a problem for me the last couple years, so I’m really pleased to come out of here with a top 5, go to Phoenix and get some momentum for the other mile-and-a-halfs this year.”

Also:

* Erik Jones had a strong run through much of the race, consistently in the top five, until 27 laps were left when he and Ryan Blaney tangled, with Jones getting the worst of it in the crash. While Blaney was able to continue on, Jones’ day came to an early end.

Jones was uninjured in the wreck.

“The 22 (Ryan Blaney) just lost it and we were there to catch him and save his day, but it doesn’t take away from how great our day was,” Jones said in a Toyota media release. “I thought (we) had a shot to win the race. It’s really a shame. … Just one of those days where it seemed like everything was clicking right, but just wasn’t meant to be”

* Brian Scott, who started on the front row next to polesitter and Richard Childress Racing teammate Austin Dillon, suffered engine failure as soon as the green flag fell.

The field got stacked up but a major wreck was avoided. Scott took his car to the garage and his day was ultimately over before it barely started.

“Second engine problem of the weekend,” Scott told PRN. “I don’t know what happened. We have to figure out why two engines blew this week and why we had an engine issue last week at Atlanta.”

Unofficial results of the Boyd Gaming 300 at Las Vegas Motor Speedway

1. Austin Dillon (183 laps led) … 200 laps
2. Ryan Blaney (2 laps led) … 200 laps
3. Regan Smith … 200 laps
4. Denny Hamlin (1 lap led) … 200 laps
5. Chase Elliott (1 lap Led) … 200 laps
6. Brendan Gaughan (3 laps led) … 200 laps
7. Darrell Wallace Jr. … 200 laps
8. Ty Dillon … 200 laps
9. Brennan Poole … 200 laps
10. Daniel Suarez (3 laps led) … 200 laps
11. Aric Almirola … 200 laps
12. Dale Earnhardt Jr. … 199 laps
13. Elliott Sadler … 199 laps
14. Chris Buescher … 199 laps
15. Ryan Reed … 199 laps
16. JJ Yeley … 199 laps
17. David Starr … 198 laps
18. Ross Chastain … 198 laps
19. John Wes Townley … 198 laps
20. Landon Cassill … 198 laps
21. Ryan Sieg … 197 laps
22. Jeremy Clements … 197 laps
23. Erik McClure … 196 laps
24. Jamie Dick … 195 laps
25. Cale Conley … 195 laps
26. Harrison Rhodes … 193 laps
27. Joey Gase … 192 laps
28. Derek White … 175 laps
29. Erik Jones (7 laps led) … 172 laps
30. Dakoda Armstrong … 164 laps
31. Mike Harmon … 164 laps
32. Mario Gosselin … 154 laps
33. Derrike Cope … 113 laps
34. Cody Ware … 80 laps
35. Blake Koch … 52 laps
36. Carl Long … 34 laps
37. Morgan Shepherd … 15 laps
38. Brian Scott … 14 laps
39. Mike Bliss … 12 laps
40. Jeff Green … 3 laps

Average Speed: 126.021 mph
Lead Changes: 13 among 7 drivers
Time of Race: 02 Hrs, 22 Mins, 50 Secs
Cautions: 6 for 34 laps

Follow @JerryBonkowski