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Monday, 29 May 2017 05:52

Austin Dillon Takes the 3 Back to Victory Lane in the Coca-Cola 600

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Austin Dillon Takes the 3 Back to Victory Lane in the Coca-Cola 600 Jerry Markland/Getty Images

Dillon takes the number 3, made famous by Dale Earnhardt, back to victory lane for the first time since 2000.

Austin Dillon won his first career race at Charlotte Motor Speedway in Sunday night’s Coca-Cola 600.

Dillon ran in the top 10 most of the night, but he needed to use fuel mileage to get to victory lane.  Dillon stayed out when most of the leaders pitted, and when Jimmie Johnson ran out of fuel coming to the white flag, Dillon took advantage.

“I was just trying to be patient with the 48 [of Johnson], I could see him up there saving,” Dillon said.  “I thought I had saved enough early that I could attack at the end, but I was trying to wait as long as possible.”

Dillon said winning at his home track made his first career Monster Energy NASCAR Cup Series victory more special.

“Never thought I’d be here in Coke 600 victory lane,” Dillon said.  “It’s hasn’t sunk in, I can’t believe it.”

Dillon, who drives for his grandfather Richard Childress, said it was special to take the No. 3 car back to victory lane.

“My pit crew’s the best on pit road; I love it for them.  Got to thank my grandfather, he’s put a lot into me.  I complain a lot, but they got me to victory lane tonight.”

Martin Truex Jr. led a race-high 233 laps, but he came up short and finished third.  Truex said his car lost the handling over the final run as he chased down the cars who gambled on fuel.

“Fuel mileage didn’t play out our way,” Truex said.  “We were a little loose that last run as well, but I think we would might have been able to have caught him on the last lap.”

“Last three years, that’s two of them we’ve lost on fuel mileage, so that kind of stinks.  But big-picture-wise, it was a good night.”

Unofficial results:

1. Austin Dillon

2. Kyle Busch

3. Martin Truex Jr.

4. Matt Kenseth

5. Denny Hamlin

6. Kurt Busch

7. Erik Jones

8. Kevin Harvick

9. Ryan Newman

10. Dale Earnhardt Jr.

11. Daniel Suarez

12. Jamie McMurray

13. Paul Menard

14. Clint Bowyer

15. Ricky Stenhouse Jr.

16. Trevor Bayne

17. Jimmie Johnson

18. AJ Allmendinger

19. Michael McDowell

20. Chris Buescher

21. Joey Logano

22. Regan Smith

23. David Ragan

24. Ryan Blaney

25. Danica Patrick

26. JJ Yeley

27. Gray Gaulding

28. Landon Cassill

29. Timmy Hill

30. Reed Sorenson

31. Derrike Cope

32. Corey LaJoie

33. Kyle Larson

34. Cole Whitt

35. Kasey Kahne

36. Ty Dillon

37. Matt DiBenedetto

38. Chase Elliott

39. Brad Keselowski

40. Jeffrey Earnhardt

Bryan Nicodemus

My name is Bryan Nicodemus.  I'm from Pittsburgh, PA, and I am currently a sophomore at Slippery Rock University of Pennsylvania.  I am majoring in Public Relations, and I hope to work in NASCAR someday.  Follow me on Twitter: @mmarkaholic55