Rookie Austin Dillon scored his first NASCAR Camping World Truck Series win Sunday, dominating the Lucas Oil 200 at Iowa Speedway.
In his 12th series start, Dillon, 20, led 187 of 205 laps and beat Johnny Sauter to the finish line by .635sec. Dillon, grandson of owner Richard Childress, gave Richard Childress Racing its first Truck Series victory since Sauter's brother Jay won at Texas in October 1999.
Dillon's dominant run was nearly spoiled by Sauter, who was able to snatch the lead on a restart on lap 150 after a caution for Jason White's accident in Turn 3.
“I saw sparks coming from the 23 truck (White), and I knew there was about to be a caution, and I was trying to make those last few laps in about two seconds instead of 24 seconds because I knew that Sauter was going to be tough,” Dillon said.
Dillon was able to reclaim the lead on lap 154, but there were two more late-race restarts – including one that pushed the race beyond the scheduled 200 laps – but Sauter was unable to mount a serious challenge.
Sauter thought he had a chance to reel in Dillon on the final restart but a stumble at the line when Dillon checked up caused him to get off the throttle and broke his momentum.
“(Sauter) had beat me on a restart earlier, so I mixed up my pickup point for the green just like I did when I was dirt racing,” Dillon said. “I had a little advice from Pop Pop (Childress) on the radio coming to the green, and the experience he has definitely helped.”
It allowed Dillon to cruise to victory in the final two laps. “I anticipated the start a little, and I looked over and I didn't see him so I had to jump off the gas,” Sauter said. “The rule is the second-place guy can't beat the leader to the line and I didn't want to risk a black flag so I had to get off the gas and we were just playing defense after that.”
Matt Crafton finished third, followed by Ken Schrader and James Buescher. The top four drivers in the standings – Todd Bodine, Aric Almirola, Ron Hornaday and Timothy Peters – all experienced trouble.
Almirola crashed hard on lap 75 to bring out the second caution. He finished 28th and dropped 88 points behind Bodine, who finished 17th, three laps back. Hornaday sustained major damage to the front of his truck and finished 34 laps back in 24th. Despite finishing the race with his hood missing, Hornaday swapped places in the standings with Peters, who finished 27th after losing his engine on lap 104.
Dillon is the series' second-youngest winning driver and third-youngest winner at age 20 years, 2 months, 37 days. Kyle Busch is the youngest, winning his first truck race at 20 years, 18 days. Busch won his second race nine days later.
There were seven cautions for 42 laps. Dillon averaged 92.967mph. Dillon moved up four spots in the standings to seventh. The next series race is Friday night at Gateway International Raceway outside of St. Louis.