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Trucks: Dillon wins after Larson sputters at Pocono

Austin Dillon triumphed in a rare outing back in the Truck Series, after early leader Kyle Larson suffered engine problems at Pocono Raceway.
CLICK: Full race results from Pocono and Camping World Truck Series championship standings.

Early on Saturday afternoon is looked as though Austin Dillon might have to settle for second best behind his fellow Sprint Cup Series rookie Kyle Larson as the pair duelled for control of this week's Truck race at the unique Pocono Raceway tri-oval.

"We had fun today, it was a good day," Dillon said. "I circled this race at the beginning of the year and wanted to win it ... We put it all together to be in Victory Lane!"

Dillon and Larson's battle for Cup series rookie of the year had something of a dress rehearsal in the form of Saturday's Pocono Mountains 150, for which Larson was on pole position just as he will be for Sunday's Sprint Cup race at the same venue. He had earlier claimed his maiden NASCAR Camping World Truck Series pole position in eight starts by edging Dillon to the top spot by just 0.112s, putting Dillon alongside him on the front row for the start of the race.

Larson was able to escape at the green flag and soon set up a comfortable two second lead over Dillon, with Tyler Reddick soon dropping almost eight seconds off the back of the lead pair in third. A caution on lap 17 for Ray Black Jr. hitting the wall in turn 2 closed the field back up together, with Dillon and Reddick opting to stay off pit road under the yellow in order to pick up the lead at the restart with Larson falling back to eighth.

Larson still looked the class of the field and was soon marching back to the front by the time that Dillon came in for his own delayed first pit stop on lap 31 which put Larson back in the lead ahead of Ryan Blaney, with Cup regular Clint Bowyer in third place in the #05 Athenian Motorsports Toyota having agreed to be a late stand-in for John Wes Townley who had been stood down with a neck injury after a big crash in an ARCA support event on Friday.

Larson was soon in for his second pit top at just past the midway point of the race, and when he rejoined it was clear that he was down on power with a sputtering engine that dropped him back down the running order. He would manage to make it to the finish, but finally crossed the line in a disappointing 18th place. In his place, Bowyer went onto lead the race on two separate occasions and looked the biggest threat to Dillon's victory, but the Richard Childress Racing driver was eventually back in charge on lap 52 following a restart for Kyle Martel hitting the wall in turn 1.

No sooner had Dillon taken the lead than the race was back under caution for German Quiroga spinning Reddick on the Long Pond straight; when the race resumed with two laps to go, a seething Reddick sought out Quiroga and enacted revenge to trigger another caution, for which he was called to pit road by NASCAR and parked for the remainder of the race.

"I just tried to stay off the wall,” explained Quiroga afterwards. "I didn't mean to spin him, I don't race like that ... Reddick shouldn't be wrecking trucks going for the championship."

That left Dillon with a green-white-chequered finish to navigate, which he did with aplomb and more than a little help from Johnny Sauter to pick up his sixth victory in 60 NASCAR Camping World Truck Series races and his first of 2014. His last win prior to this had been the inaugural dirt track event at Eldora Speedway in July 2013. In doing so, he brought to an end a 12-race winning streak by Toyota entries as be steered a Chevrolet Truck to victory lane.

"I gave [Dillon] the best push I could and finally pushed him too far for me to have a run at him at the end," Sauter said after crossing the line two seconds behind Dillon. "My mentality on restarts here is I don't care what's going on behind me. I'm not looking in the mirror. I'm going to keep pushing until I can't push no more, and that's basically what we did there with the #3 truck."

Bowyer finished in third place and seemed to have thoroughly enjoyed his one-off return to Truck racing for the day.

"These trucks are a blast when they draft the way they do down there," he said. "The restarts are a lot of fun, just come up a little short and got beat but had a lot of fun.

"I think honestly we were a third-place truck," Bowyer admitted. "Larson was the class of the field and luckily blew up and gave Austin and I a chance - and Austin capitalised."

In the championship standings, Ryan Blaney continues to lead after his fifth place finish at Pocono with his lead now seven points, with Johnny Sauter having moved into second place in the standings ahead of Matt Crafton, who finished out of the top ten in 14th place at the 'tricky triangle' this week.

Full race results, plus qualifying and practice speeds and full Camping World Truck Series championship standings.



Related Pictures

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Austin Dillon, driver of the #3 Yuengling Light Lager Chevrolet, celebrates with a burnout after winning the NASCAR Camping World Truck Series Pocono Mountains 150 at Pocono Raceway on August 2, 2014 in Long Pond, Pennsylvania. (Photo Credit: Elsa/Getty Images)
Austin Dillon, driver of the #3 Yuengling Light Lager Chevrolet, celebrates in Victory Lane after winning the NASCAR Camping World Truck Series Pocono Mountains 150 at Pocono Raceway on August 2, 2014 in Long Pond, Pennsylvania. (Photo Credit: Sarah Glenn/Getty Images)
Joey Logano, driver of the #22 Shell-Pennzoil Ford, pits during the NASCAR Sprint Cup Series Ford EcoBoost 400 at Homestead-Miami Speedway on November 16, 2014 in Homestead, Florida. (Photo Credit: Jerry Markland/Getty Images)
Denny Hamlin, driver of the #11 FedEx Express Toyota, Ryan Newman, driver of the #31 Caterpillar Chevrolet, Miss Sprint Cup Kim Coon, Joey Logano, driver of the #22 Shell-Pennzoil Ford, and Kevin Harvick, driver of the #4 Budweiser Chevrolet, pose for a photo prior to the NASCAR Sprint Cup Series Ford EcoBoost 400 at Homestead-Miami Speedway on November 16, 2014 in Homestead, Florida. (Photo Credit: Jonathan Ferrey/Getty Images)
Matt Kenseth, driver of the #20 GameStop/Rock Candy Toyota, celebrates in victory lane after winning the NASCAR Nationwide Series Ford EcoBoost 300 at Homestead-Miami Speedway on November 15, 2014 in Homestead, Florida.  (Photo Credit: Sean Gardner/Getty Images)
Matt Kenseth, driver of the #20 GameStop/Rock Candy Toyota, celebrates in victory lane after winning the NASCAR Nationwide Series Ford EcoBoost 300 at Homestead-Miami Speedway on November 15, 2014 in Homestead, Florida.  (Photo Credit: Sean Gardner/Getty Images)
Matt Kenseth, driver of the #20 GameStop/Rock Candy Toyota, leads a pack of cars during the NASCAR Nationwide Series Ford EcoBoost 300 at Homestead-Miami Speedway on November 15, 2014 in Homestead, Florida.  (Photo Credit: Chris Trotman/Getty Images for NASCAR)
Matt Kenseth, driver of the #20 GameStop/Rock Candy Toyota, takes the chequered flag to win the NASCAR Nationwide Series Ford EcoBoost 300 at Homestead-Miami Speedway on November 15, 2014 in Homestead, Florida. (Photo Credit: Chris Trotman/Getty Images for NASCAR)
Matt Crafton, driver of the #88 Jeld-Wen/Menards Toyota, and Darrell Wallace Jr., driver of the #54 ToyotaCare Toyota, burn out as Crafton celebrates winning the series championship and Wallace celebrates winning the NASCAR Camping World Truck Series Ford EcoBoost 200 at Homestead-Miami Speedway on November 14, 2014 in Homestead, Florida. (Photo Credit: Chris Graythen/Getty Images)
Matt Crafton, driver of the #88 Jeld-Wen/Menards Toyota, celebrates winning the series championship in Victory Lane with the trophy, NASCAR President Mike Helton and sportscaster Krista Voda during the NASCAR Camping World Truck Series Ford EcoBoost 200 at Homestead-Miami Speedway on November 14, 2014 in Homestead, Florida.  (Photo Credit: Todd Warshaw/Getty Images for NASCAR)
Matt Crafton, driver of the #88 Jeld-Wen/Menards Toyota, celebrates winning the series championship in Victory Lane after the NASCAR Camping World Truck Series Ford EcoBoost 200 at Homestead-Miami Speedway on November 14, 2014 in Homestead, Florida.  (Photo Credit: Chris Graythen/Getty Images)
Matt Crafton, driver of the #88 Jeld-Wen/Menards Toyota, celebrates in Victory Lane after winning the series championship and placing ninth in the NASCAR Camping World Truck Series Ford EcoBoost 200 at Homestead-Miami Speedway on November 14, 2014 in Homestead, Florida. (Photo Credit: Chris Graythen/Getty Images)
Darrell Wallace Jr., driver of the #54 ToyotaCare Toyota, celebrates in Victory Lane after winning the NASCAR Camping World Truck Series Ford EcoBoost 200 at Homestead-Miami Speedway on November 14, 2014 in Homestead, Florida. (Photo Credit: Sean Gardner/Getty Images)
Darrell Wallace Jr., driver of the #54 ToyotaCare Toyota, takes the chequered flag to win the NASCAR Camping World Truck Series Ford EcoBoost 200 at Homestead-Miami Speedway on November 14, 2014 in Homestead, Florida. (Photo Credit: Chris Trotman/Getty Images for NASCAR)
Kyle Busch, driver of the #51 ToyotaCare Toyota, pits during the NASCAR Camping World Truck Series Ford EcoBoost 200 at Homestead-Miami Speedway on November 14, 2014 in Homestead, Florida.  (Photo Credit: Jerry Markland/Getty Images)
Matt Crafton, driver of the #88 Jeld-Wen/Menards Toyota, and his daughter Elladee take part in pre-race ceremonies for the NASCAR Camping World Truck Series Ford EcoBoost 200 at Homestead-Miami Speedway on November 14, 2014 in Homestead, Florida. (Photo Credit: Jared C. Tilton/Getty Images for NASCAR)
Kyle Larson, driver of the #42 ParkerStore Chevrolet, poses with the Keystone Light Pole Award after qualifying for pole position for the NASCAR Camping World Truck Series Ford EcoBoost 200 at Homestead-Miami Speedway on November 14, 2014 in Homestead, Florida. (Photo Credit: Jared C. Tilton/NASCAR via Getty Images)
Matt Crafton drives the #88 Jeld-Wen/Menards Toyota during practice for the NASCAR Camping World Truck Series Ford EcoBoost 200 at Homestead-Miami Speedway on November 13, 2014 in Homestead, Florida.  (Photo Credit: Jonathan Ferrey/NASCAR via Getty Images)

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