sunny.png
Sunday June 16th, 2019 9:06PM

Austin Dillon on Fontana pole, clock wins final qualifying

By Reid Spencer-NASCAR Wire Service
Related Articles
  Contact Editor

FONTANA, Calif. –  Austin Dillon didn’t make it to the Start / Finish line in time to turn a lap in the final session of knockout qualifying at Auto Club Speedway.

And yet the driver of the No. 3 Richard Childress Racing Chevrolet won the pole for Sunday’s Auto Club 400 at the two-mile track — because no one else made it to the stripe in the final round, either.

In a bizarre money round in Friday’s time trials, all 12 drivers waited too long on pit road before starting their runs, with none wanting to be first in the draft. The cars were exiting turn 4 when time expired, and that meant a reversion to round 2, which Dillon led.

Hence, Dillon won the fourth Busch Pole Award of his career, his first since 2016 and his second at Auto Club. In a sense, it was poetic justice that Dillon was the top qualifier for Sunday’s 200-lap race. He was the only driver in either round to break 40 seconds (39.982), and the only driver to top 180 mph (180.081) in either round.

To post that lap in the second round, Dillon and crew chief Danny Stockman adjusted for a strong wind blowing across turns 3 and 4. Then Dillon hit a perfect position in the draft.

“It was really pushing you in the corner in 3 and 4,” Dillon said. “In the middle of the corner, I had a tight balance most of my day. I couldn’t run wide open. I talked to Stockman through it, kind of telling him where that point was.

“I thought the wind changed going into practice (earlier in the day). I felt like it was coming from turn 2 to 4. When I got out of the car after practice, it was really shooting right into the middle of 3 and 4. So I went and told him the reason we were tight had to be the wind. We freed up around that, and I changed a little bit of my driving style to accommodate the car… and we ended up on top.”

Kevin Harvick qualified second at 179.386 mph, based on his second-round speed. Aric Almirola (179.082 mph) claimed the third starting spot, followed by Kyle Busch (178.895 mph.

As the seconds counted down in the final session, Dillon waited, knowing he had the pole if no one else moved in time. When the clock ticked below 47 seconds (the time it would have taken to get from the end of pit road back to the start/finish line), the pole was his.

“When the 18 (Kyle Busch) made a little bit of a move there, I just rode on his door, because I was going to follow him and just have one car to beat,” Dillon said. “I didn’t have to make it back around. And then the 12 (10th-place qualifier Ryan Blaney) came through the grass — I thought he demolished his car. It looked like he left the ground over there. I don’t know what he did, but it was pretty wild.

“At that point my spotter said, ‘It’s over. You can bring it around here,’ and I knew we had gotten the pole.”

Joey Logano qualified fifth, Denny Hamlin sixth and Ryan Newman seventh. Chase Elliott, Clint Bowyer, Blaney, Jimmie Johnson and Ricky Stenhouse, Jr. completed the top 12, as Ford drivers accounted for seven of the final-round positions.

WDUN will carry live MRN radio coverage of all the action from Auto Club Speedway this weekend.  It starts with Saturday’s NASCAR Xfinity Series Production Alliance Group 300 beginning at 4:30 on 102.9 FM, AM 550 and streaming live on AccessWDUN.  On Sunday, it’s the Monster Energy NASCAR Cup Series Auto Club 400 beginning at 2:30 on WDUN 102.9 FM, AM 550 or streaming live on AccessWDUN.

Monster Energy NASCAR Cup Series
Auto Club Speedway – Fontana, CA
Auto Club 400 – March 15, 2019

Friday’s Qualifying Results

1. (3) Austin Dillon, Chevrolet, 0.000 mph.
2. (4) Kevin Harvick, Ford, 0.000 mph.
3. (10) Aric Almirola, Ford, 0.000 mph.
4. (18) Kyle Busch, Toyota, 0.000 mph.
5. (22) Joey Logano, Ford, 0.000 mph.
6. (11) Denny Hamlin, Toyota, 0.000 mph.
7. (6) Ryan Newman, Ford, 0.000 mph.
8. (9) Chase Elliott, Chevrolet, 0.000 mph.
9. (14) Clint Bowyer, Ford, 0.000 mph.
10. (12) Ryan Blaney, Ford, 0.000 mph.
11. (48) Jimmie Johnson, Chevrolet, 0.000 mph.
12. (17) Ricky Stenhouse, Jr., Ford, 0.000 mph.
13. (2) Brad Keselowski, Ford, 178.006 mph.
14. (37) Chris Buescher, Chevrolet, 177.817 mph.
15. (42) Kyle Larson, Chevrolet, 177.756 mph.
16. (13) Ty Dillon, Chevrolet, 177.677 mph.
17. (8) Daniel Hemric #, Chevrolet, 177.580 mph.
18. (20) Erik Jones, Toyota, 177.384 mph.
19. (38) David Ragan, Ford, 177.283 mph.
20. (41) Daniel Suarez, Ford, 177.253 mph.
21. (1) Kurt Busch, Chevrolet, 177.148 mph.
22. (24) William Byron, Chevrolet, 176.761 mph.
23. (88) Alex Bowman, Chevrolet, 175.008 mph.
24. (95) Matt DiBenedetto, Toyota, 173.507 mph.
25. (21) Paul Menard, Ford, 177.629 mph.
26. (47) Ryan Preece #, Chevrolet, 177.462 mph.
27. (19) Martin Truex, Jr., Toyota, 177.427 mph.
28. (43) Darrel Wallace, Jr., Chevrolet, 177.052 mph.
29. (34) Michael McDowell, Ford, 176.151 mph.
30. (32) Corey LaJoie, Ford, 175.863 mph.
31. (15) Ross Chastain(i), Chevrolet, 174.936 mph.
32. (36) Matt Tifft #, Ford, 174.825 mph.
33. (00) Landon Cassill, Chevrolet, 173.913 mph.
34. (51) Cody Ware #, Chevrolet, 172.476 mph.
35. (27) Reed Sorenson, Chevrolet, 169.643 mph.
36. (52) B.J. McLeod(i), Ford, 168.401 mph.
37. (77) Garrett Smithley(i), Chevrolet, 168.201 mph.
38. (66) Joey Gase(i), Toyota, 165.445 mph.

  • Associated Categories: Sports, NASCAR News, Monster Cup
  • Associated Tags: nascar, motorsports, Auto Racing, Stock Car, Asphalt, Motorsports Live On WDUN, Monster Energy NASCAR Cup Series
© Copyright 2019 AccessWDUN.com
All rights reserved. This material may not be published, broadcast, rewritten, or redistributed without permission.
Daniel Hemric has family ties to the hardwood
Many NASCAR competitors can trace their racing roots to family members, those from a generation or so removed who raced on either the local or national stage.
6:00AM ( 10 hours ago )
Alfaro, Marlins snap Braves' 4-game winning streak
Jorge Alfaro homered twice, including a tiebreaking, two-run shot in the ninth inning, and the Miami Marlins stopped the Atlanta Braves' four-game winning streak with a 4-2 victory Saturday night...
11:18PM ( 16 hours ago )
No. 4 Georgia slams No. 5 Vanderbilt
Fourth-ranked Georgia bounced back to defeat fifth-ranked Vanderbilt 8-3 Saturday in front of a Foley Field crowd of 3,117...
9:53PM ( 18 hours ago )
Sports
Chase Elliott scores NASCAR Cup Series pole at Bristol
Forget about the superspeedways. Chase Elliott roared to his first pole of the season Friday, capturing the No. 1 starting spot for Sunday’s Food City 500 at Bristol Motor Speedway.
10:10PM ( 1 day ago )
Hendrick Motorsports riding momentum into Bristol
It may not have been the outcome that Hendrick Motorsports has historically come to expect, but considering its recent performance the four-car team has reason...
6:00AM ( 2 days ago )
Boogity! Boogity! Boogity! Waltrip set to retire
Darrell Waltrip is set to take the checkered flag on his broadcasting career
4:14PM ( 2 days ago )
NASCAR News
PODCAST: Hard Left Turn - Denny Hamlin tames Texas
Denny Hamlin bounced back from a pair of pit road penalties to score his second Monster Energy NASCAR Cup Series win of the season on Sunday at Texas Motor Speedway.
11:00PM ( 5 days ago )
Denny Hamlin's Texas victory was quite the feat
Conventional wisdom suggests one pit road penalty can be overcome, but two pit road penalties is something a driver and team generally cannot recover from...
5:46PM ( 5 days ago )
All four Stewart-Haas cars finish strong at Texas
Stewart-Haas Racing enjoyed its best results of 2019. For the second race this season — and the second time on an intermediate track — all four SHR Fords finished in the top 10.
6:00AM ( 6 days ago )
Monster Cup
Daniel Hemric has family ties to the hardwood
Many NASCAR competitors can trace their racing roots to family members, those from a generation or so removed who raced on either the local or national stage.
By Kenny Bruce-NASCAR Wire Service
6:00AM ( 10 hours ago )
Around The Track Results and Points Standings Page
The latest Monster Energy NASCAR Cup, Xfinity and Camping World Truck Series race results.
By AccessWDUN
1:23AM ( 14 hours ago )
Bell rings up Bristol win for Xfinity Dash 4 Cash bonus
Christopher Bell earned his first career Bristol Motor Speedway victory and a $100,000 bonus with the Xfinity Series win Saturday.
By Kenny Bruce-NASCAR Wire Service
3:53PM ( 1 day ago )
Blaney hopes to transform early season speed into wins
The speed has been present nearly every race. There is no disputing that, as Ryan Blaney has had a fast car capable of contending in all seven Monster Energy NASCAR...
By Jordan Bianchi-NASCAR Wire Service
8:00AM ( 1 day ago )
Chase Elliott scores NASCAR Cup Series pole at Bristol
Forget about the superspeedways. Chase Elliott roared to his first pole of the season Friday, capturing the No. 1 starting spot for Sunday’s Food City 500 at Bristol Motor Speedway.
By Kenny Bruce-NASCAR Wire Service
10:10PM ( 1 day ago )