By Josh Farmer, IndyCar Reporter & NASCAR Contributor
FORT WORTH, Texas — Austin Dillon’s chances for a possible win from pole in tonight’s rain-delayed AAA Texas 500 came to a screeching halt following a crash on lap 264.
Dillon ran inside the top five for much of the race’s opening 250 laps and managed to lead a total of six laps in his No. 3 Realtree/Bad Boy Chevrolet, although five of those were scored when the race started under green/yellow conditions.
Following a routing green flag pitstop for tires and fuel, Dillon was in a close battle with Chase Elliot for third place. Contact with the lapped car of David Regan on lap 255 sent Dillon spinning in Turns 3 and 4.
He managed to keep the car in a powerslide and didn’t lose a position as the yellow flag flew. After a set of pit stops under yellow, Dillon miraculously remained in the top five as the field lined up for the lap 261 restart.
Dillon started to march forward on the restart but had the No. 4 Busch Beer Chevrolet of Kevin Harvick right behind him. Harvick ran right in Dillon’s tire tracks as the pair came off of Turn 4 and tapped him.
That sent Dillon sliding into the front stretch SAFER Barrier as Casey Mears and Brian Scott crashed further back. The damage was severe enough to bring Dillon behind the wall and knock him out of the race.
Following watching a replay of the accident, Dillon did not shy away about pointing the finger at Harvick.
“He sucked down on my door as tight as he could,” he said. “It made me tight, instead of checking he just stayed in the gas.”
The pair has run-ins in the past, including a well-publicised crash in a NASCAR Camping World Truck Series race at Martinsville in 2013. Harvick angrily noted that Dillon was getting special treatment at Richard Childress Racing because he is team owner Richard Childress’ grandson.
The 2013 NASCAR Xfinity Series champion’s comments after the crash indicated that Harvick’s words still resonated.
“He didn’t like it that the silver-spoon kid was out-running him tonight.”
Although a shot at a top-five or a potential win was robbed from Dillon, he was pleased with the progress that his Richard Childress Racing team has made to get him this far.
“Bummer because it was fast Realtree/Bad Boy Chevy, we’ll go on from this,” he added. “It just shows the point that RCR is moving forward and we’ve got two races to win.”