INDIANAPOLIS (AP) — For a first time winner, Ty Dillon had the Brickyard’s winning tradition down as cold as the celebratory beer he chugged outside his car.
“We get to kiss the bricks, baby!” he radioed as he crossed the finish line.
Dillon parked his car on the famed yard of bricks and raised his arms toward the sky in triumph. His No. 3 car wasn’t going to budge from the bricks without a push — it was out of gas.
Dillon was the latest driver to kiss the bricks after he pulled away from Kyle Busch on Saturday at Indianapolis Motor Speedway to win for the first time in the Nationwide Series. Dillon made this celebration a family affair. Team owner and grandfather Richard Childress and Sprint Cup driver and brother Austin Dillon joined the winner for the big smooch of the bricks.
Dillon got there by holding off the dominant driver in the series. Dillon passed Busch off the final restart with 25 laps and held on for his first victory in 31 career starts in NASCAR’s second-tier series.
“We got out front, man, she unleashed and it was awesome,” Dillon said.
Busch, who has three wins and 13 top-five finishes in 14 races this season, made a hard charge in the final three laps but failed in a bid to win at the Brickyard for the second straight year. Matt Kenseth was third, followed by Kevin Harvick and Joey Logano.
“When you’ve got the best guy in the business behind you, it’s tough,” Dillon said. “It’s tough to stay focused and not give up. I’ve raced against Brad (Keselowski) and Kyle a lot, those guys are the best in the business.”
No one was better than Dillon at the Brickyard.
“I was praying,” Childress said. “He’s had a tough year this year, he’s had some close runs, but to come here and race at Indy and race with the guys he’s raced with, it was a great day for RCR and Ty Dillon.”
Dillon had his first top-five finish in 18 races last weekend at Chicagoland Speedway. Dillon, driving the No. 3 Austin piloted to the Nationwide title last season, has turned his season around.
Dillon’s inexperience has hurt him more than once this season.
Dillon, who started third, had already finished in the top 10 12 times. But he’s also been haunted by common rookie mistakes, like missing pit stalls and, most notably, picking up a pair of speeding penalties while running with the leaders in Las Vegas.
But his near flawless in holding off the Sprint Cup regulars who dropped down for Saturday’s race. Dillon also won the $100,000 Dash 4 Cash bonus as part of a Nationwide promotion that could award up to $1 million to a series regular.
“Growing up, as a young boy, you always want to come to Indy and win, and we’ve done it today,” crew chief Danny Stockman said. “These guys have been working their tails off, I wouldn’t be afraid to see that we might get on a roll here.”
Chase Elliott finished 12th and holds a four-point lead over Regan Smith in the standings. Busch had his 14th top 10.
“Never were as good as we were last year,” Busch said. “Gave it away on that last restart there in Turn 1, he got the lead and it was over from there.”