Richard Childress Racing's Austin Dillon claimed his third Camping World Truck Series victory in just 39 starts with a convincing win in the Lucas Deep Clean 200 at Nashville Superspeedway, after passing Johnny Sauter for the lead over 20 laps from the chequered flag on Friday night.
Dillon, who started from pole position after beating Joey Coulter by a slender 0.078s earlier in the day, gambled on a two-tyre call under caution on lap 104 when everyone else took four tyres, and initially seemed to lose out when Sauter passed him for the led at the restart.
"It was all about sticking with [Sauter] as long as I could, keep the pressure on," explained Dillon afterwards. I knew he was getting looser and looser." In the end he would lead the last 23 laps, making a total of 56 laps out of the race distance of 150; Timothy Peters (who finished third) led for 67.
"I looked at all the tire wears all day and the tires weren't wearing," said Dillon's crew chief Danny Stockman. "I knew if we had track position and clean air, we were gonna go ... Tyres weren't an issue tonight."
Sauter - who still leads the Truck Series championship from Dillon by 18pts - admitted that his rival simply had the better truck on the night. "He was dogging me lap after lap," Sauter said. "I knew it was just going to be a matter of time before he got around me."
21-year-old Dillon - grandson of Richard Childress, and son of RCR general manager Mike Dillon - wins a trophy in the form of a Sam Bass custom-painted Gibson Les Paul guitar, recently nominated as one of the top ten "coolest" sports trophies. "I've been talking about it all week," said Dillon. "It's just a beautiful trophy."
The only thing that didn't work out for Dillon was his attempt at a celebratory bodyslide on the infield grass, which proved stubbornly unslippery.
Dillon is the fourth consecutive driver to win from pole on the 1.333 mile D-shaped oval, and the 11th different driver to win at Nashville in 13 races in the series. Kyle Busch won in the April race here, while last year's winners were Busch and Todd Bodine.
Sauter held on to second and long-time leader Peters was third ahead of series rookie and former F1 driver Nelson Piquet Jr. who finished in fourth place having qualified in eighth.
There is no Cup race this weekend, the series taking a rare mid-season week off and the Cup drivers also taking the opportunity to have a break rather than showing up in the Truck Series race. The next Cup event is the Brickyard 400 at Indianapolis Motor Speedway next weekend.Full race results
(and qualifying and practice times) are available.