With a huge assist from Richard Childress Racing teammate Tyler Reddick after a rain delay of more than three hours, Austin Dillon forced his way into the NASCAR Cup Series Playoff and broke Martin Truex Jr.’s heart.
Dillon’s victory in Sunday’s rain-delayed Coke Zero Sugar 400 at Daytona International Speedway—his first of the season and his second at the track—needed the convergence of several different circumstances to fall into place.
After avoiding serious damage in a wreck off Turn 4 on lap 125, Dillon survived a subsequent 13-car melee in Turn 1 and took the lead before rain halted the race. After a red-flag period of 3 hours, 19 minutes, 57 seconds, Dillon fell behind 2022 Daytona 500 winner Austin Cindric and trailed him from the restart on Lap 145 of 160 until he made the race-winning move on Lap 158.
Dillon’s victory knocked Truex out of the Playoff and handed the final berth to Ryan Blaney, who finished three points ahead of Truex in the final regular-season standings.
Tickets for the 65th Annual DAYTONA 500, set for Sunday, Feb. 19, 2023, are on sale now and can be purchased online at www.daytonainternationalspeedway.com or by calling 1-800-PITSHOP.