Austin Dillon, driving the No. 33 Chevrolet Silverado, fought off a late race skirmish with ThorSport Racing teammates Matt Crafton and Johnny Sauter to win NASCAR’s 500th Camping World Truck Series race on Saturday afternoon, taking the checkers of the UNOH 175 at New Hampshire Motor Speedway.
Dillon knew he was up to the task after the caution flag flew with 15 laps to go and he stayed out on slightly used tires after then second place runner Kyle Busch, who had led for 69 laps, had to pull in for fresh rubber after suffering from right rear damage to his truck. On the 167th lap restart, Crafton and Sauter ganged up on Dillon, pushing each other to the front, but soon thereafter, Dillon had sailed away, building up a straightaway lead of 1.054 seconds at the end.
“It’s very special,” said Dillon, the 2011 series champion, who won his first event of the season, his first at New Hampshire and seventh of his career and was very gracious in his honor of being the winner of NASCAR’s 500th Truck event. “I owe a lot to the Truck Series for getting me to where I am today. Our truck really got going at the end of a run, and that was awesome.
“I’ve had a lot of success qualifying, racing and winning in the Truck Series. It taught me a lot about how to race hard when you have to. It’s definitely a fun series to be in, and I’m thankful for it. Hopefully, we can have thousands of races in the Truck Series. I’ve enjoyed all of mine.”
With his runner-up finish, Crafton, now second in the standings, closed his deficit to the leader and seventh-place finisher Erik Jones to seven points. Tyler Reddick closed his day in 15th and trails Jones by 19 points.
“The 33 [Dillon] was definitely a little better,” Crafton said. “We missed it a little today. We fought tight and just kept freeing it up, and I was just a little too free on the short run right there. I don’t know what I was doing wrong, but I was missing my restarts so bad.
“My teammate Johnny [Sauter] helped me on those last couple restarts and gave me a good shove and got me down in there. I just missed it, and we’ll get them next week.”
Sauter ran third, followed by Timothy Peters and John Hunter Nemechek, the winner at last week’s Chicagoland Speedway, completed the top five.
The average speed of the UNOH 175 was 95.084 mph after six caution flags for 32 laps. There were six lead changes among five drivers with Dillon dominating for 80 circuits.
The next NASCAR Camping World Truck series event is next Saturday, October 3, for the running of the Rhino Linings 350K at the Las Vegas Motor Speedway starting at 10 p.m. EDT on FOX Sports 1.