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With an 11th-place finish in the South Point 400, Austin Dillon had a solid outing for the first race of the NASCAR Playoffs.

Austin Dillon Survives Wild NASCAR Playoffs Opener

The saying goes that whatever happens in Las Vegas, stays in Las Vegas, but for a number of NASCAR Playoffs contenders, a tough outing in the inaugural South Point 400 will follow them the next two weeks as the first round continues on to Richmond and then Charlotte. One of those Playoff contenders that did not suffer a setback in Las Vegas was Austin Dillon and the No. 3 team.

Starting from the rear of the field for an unapproved adjustment, Dillon and the No. 3 DOWFROST team knew they had a strong car on their side and would need it to work their way through the field. They did just that, and as eight of the 16 Playoff contenders fell to the wayside, the day ended up being a positive result.

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When the checkered flag flew on a wild day in ‘Sin City,’ Dillon crossed the finish line in the 11th position. That allowed him to move inside the top 10 in the Playoff standings, now nine points ahead of the cutoff. Still, the 2018 Daytona 500 champion knows there is room for improvement heading into the next two weeks of the opening round.

“We definitely had a No. 3 DOWFROST Camaro ZL1 that was capable of running in the top five today at Las Vegas Motor Speedway,” said Dillon. “I’m proud of the effort, but there is room for improvement. We gave up a lot of track position throughout the day, not just from starting in the back, but we really struggled on pit stops. I felt like I got all I could out of it.

“It was a solid battle with a good points day. It’s on to Richmond Raceway,” said Dillon.

While Dillon was able to produce a solid result out of the opening race at Las Vegas Motor Speedway, other playoff contenders did not fare as well. Alex Bowman, Kurt Busch, Jimmie Johnson, Clint Bowyer, Denny Hamlin, Chase Elliott, Kevin Harvick and Erik Jones all had issues throughout the day.

With an 11th-place finish in the South Point 400, Austin Dillon had a solid outing for the first race of the NASCAR Playoffs.
Austin Dillon races on the outside of a three-wide situation during the South Point 400 at Las Vegas Motor Speedway, the first race of the NASCAR Playoffs. (Photo Credit: HHP/Alan Marler)