FORT WORTH, Texas (AP) — Austin Dillon stayed in front after a restart with two laps to go and beat rookie teammate Tyler Reddick to the checkered flag at Texas, giving Richard Childress Racing its first 1-2 NASCAR Cup finish in nine years.
With spectators spread out in the stands on a scorching Sunday, a very dehydrated Dillon got the checkered flag and did some celebratory burnouts on the frontstretch before going to the infield care center.
“I got a couple IVs in me, feeling great. I felt great once I kind of got in air conditioner. I was wanting to come back out because it stinks to win the race and you’re falling out,” Dillon said when finally on his postrace Zoom call. “But I gave it all. I left it all out there. At least I can say that, and left it all on the track.”
Dillon raced to his third career win and first since Daytona at the start of the 2018 season. It was Dillon and Reddick in the front on the final three restarts, the first after an incident with 29 laps left that shuffled the fast car of Ryan Blaney to a lap back.
“Not bad for a silver spoon kid, huh?” Dillon, the grandson of Childress, said immediately after the race. “Tyler Reddick, he raced me clean. 1-2 for RCR. This has been coming. We’ve had good cars all year. I’ve got my baby Ace back home, my wife. I’m just so happy.”
It was the first 1-2 finish for RCR in the Cup Series since Clint Bowyer won at Talladega in 2011 ahead of Jeff Burton.
Childress watched the race from a command center at the team’s race shop in North Carolina.
“I mean, it’s great. ... Having Tyler right there, to work with, he’s got a teammate that he’s really working good with,” Childress said. “And to see both of those guys racing for the win, I knew they weren’t going to, I was hoping they didn’t wreck each other. It was pretty cool to see RCR in the front.”
On the final restart in Texas, Dillon got a good jump, holding off his rookie teammate and some veteran drivers.
Joey Logano finished third, with Kyle Busch fourth a day after he finished ahead of the field in two races — his Xfinity Series victory was taken away after his car failed a postrace inspection, and he then won the Trucks Series race. Series points leader Kevin Harvick, the winner of the last three fall races at Texas, was fifth.
“Can’t ask for much more than what we got there,” said Reddick, the Xfinity Series champion each of the past two seasons. “I just wanted it to be between us. I didn’t want bring other cars into it, make sure that we could fight it out. We just got the restarts that kept giving us opportunities.”
There were an estimated 15,000-20,000 spectators at the track, where it reached 97 degrees late in the first summertime Cup race at Texas — it was supposed to be a spring race nearly four months ago, before the coronavirus pandemic postponed and then shuffled NASCAR’s schedule. Inside the cars, it was 130-140 degrees.