Dillon Comes Through for Stewart

NASCAR

Ty Dillon’s relief effort resulted in a sixth-place GEICO 500 finish for Tony Stewart. (Photo: Getty Images)

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Ty Dillon’s relief effort resulted in a sixth-place finish in the GEICO 500 for Tony Stewart.

Stewart gave way to Dillon under caution on lap 53 as was the plan going into the race. Still recovering from the back injuries suffered in January, Stewart had Dillon lined-up to finish the race once he exited.

But getting out of the car wasn’t easy.

"It sucks to be honest,” Stewart said. “I know why we got to do it, but it sucks. It still sucks that you have to do it but if I hadn't broke my back at the end of January; we wouldn't be in this situation. Good news is this is last time we have to do it and I am back in next week.

“I really appreciate Ty (Dillon). He's been a rock star through this whole thing and especially this weekend. He's done all the heavy lifting and I just got in to ride around for 50 laps and turn it over to him.”

The No. 14 car did fall a lap down early after Stewart got caught speeding exiting pits on lap 38, but Dillon got back on the lead lap as the “Lucky Dog.” Once there, Dillon stayed near the front of the field and maybe more importantly was able to dodge the several accidents that punctuated the day.

When the checkered flag flew, Dillon was proud of the sixth-place performance.

“We had a really strong car,” he said. “Fighting from behind, it’s hard to get it up front. I felt like if we could lead a pack at any point, we would have put ourselves up front. Early one, once I first got in the car, we drove right up to into the Top 10 really quick and we had some air on the nose and was able to go.

“The team built an awesome race car. I just kind of got mired back. I made some mistakes being my first time here racing. But we were able to dodge crashes and survive here, which is the big thing. We made some good moves at the end to get us into to the top 6 or 7.”

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