Austin Dillon Survives Late Race Carnage to Win in XFINITY at Thunder Valley

BRISTOL, Tenn. — Austin Dillon wasn’t in the dominant car of the night nor near the front most of the night, but he was in front when it counted and he scored the victory in the Food City 300 at Thunder Valley.

Brad Keselowski took the lead late n the race from Kyle Larson, who led a race-high of 200 laps, and had the win in check following Kyle Busch’s late-race wreck as he would’ve restarted the race with two laps to go and with the lane choice. He didn’t have the gas to make the finish, however, and the driver of the No. 2 Richard Childress Racing Chevrolet drove on to win the Food City 300 at Bristol Motor Speedway.

“I feel like the fans had to have loved that race,” Dillon said. “It was interesting to have another lane down at the bottom of the track and it ended up being a race on those last two restarts. At the end of the race, I listened to the advice of my grandfather on what lane to choose to restart and I’m glad I did. It really worked out. The more and more I learn about these races it’s a battle of attrition and it’s about who can survive. I’m proud of Justin Alexander. This is his first win as a crew chief in the NASCAR XFINITY Series and this is our first win together in our first race together so it’s a great way to start.”

It’s Dillon’s eighth victory in 111 career XFINITY Series starts, his second of the season, the 12th top-10 finish of 2016 and his first win at Bristol.

Justin Allgaier brought his No. 7 JR Motorsports home to a runner-up finish. Larson rounded out the podium in his No. 42 Chip Ganassi Racing Chevrolet. Elliott Sadler finished fourth in his No. 1 JRM Chevrolet. Brendan Gaughan rounded out the top-five in his No. 62 RCR Chevrolet.

Jeremy Clements finished sixth in his No. 51 Jeremy Clements Racing Chevrolet. Darrell Wallace Jr. led four laps on his way to a seventh-place finish in his No. 6 Roush Fenway Racing Ford. Blake Koch finished eighth in his No. 11 Kaulig Racing Chevrolet. Brandon Jones finished ninth in his No. 33 RCR Chevrolet. Corey LaJoie rounded out the top-10 in his No. 24 JGL Racing Toyota.

Eight drivers finished the race on the lead lap and 30 cars were running at the finish.

The race lasted one hour, 56 minutes and seven seconds at an average speed of 84.827 mph. There were 16 lead changes among seven drivers and eight cautions for 54 laps.

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The views and opinions expressed in this article are those of the author and do not necessarily reflect the official policy or position of SpeedwayMedia.com

Tucker White
Tucker White
I've followed NASCAR for well over 20 years of my life, both as a fan and now as a member of the media. As of 2024, I'm on my ninth season as a traveling NASCAR beat writer. For all its flaws and dumb moments, NASCAR at its best produces some of the best action you'll ever see in the sport of auto racing. Case in point: Kyle Larson's threading the needle pass at Darlington Raceway on May 9, 2021. On used-up tires, racing on a worn surface and an aero package that put his car on the razor's edge of control, Larson demonstrated why he's a generational talent. Those are the stories I want to capture and break down. In addition to NASCAR, I also follow IndyCar and Formula 1. As a native of Knoxville, Tennessee, and a graduate of the University of Tennessee, I'm a diehard Tennessee Volunteers fan (especially in regards to Tennessee football). If covering NASCAR doesn't kill me, down the road, watching Tennessee football will. I'm also a diehard fan of the Atlanta Braves, and I lived long enough to see them win a World Series for the first time since 1995 (when I was just a year old). I've also sworn my fan allegiance to the Nashville Predators, though that's not paid out as much as the Braves. Furthermore, as a massive sports dork, I follow the NFL on a weekly basis. Though it's more out of an obligation than genuine passion (for sports dorks, following the NFL is basically an unwritten rule). Outside of sports, I'm a major cinema buff and a weeb. My favorite film is "Blazing Saddles" and my favorite anime is "Black Lagoon."

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