Thanks in part to a lengthy yellow at the end of Saturday’s Ford EcoBoost 300, Austin Dillon celebrates his 2013 NASCAR Nationwide Series championship.
The 2013 NASCAR Nationwide Series championship came down to the wire in Saturday night’s Ford EcoBoost 300 at Homestead-Miami Speedway.
Throughout much of the race, it looked as if Sam Hornish Jr. was in control of of his destiny and on track to his first NASCAR title, but Austin Dillon refused to give in.
When a late-race caution flew for an incident between Regan Smith, Jeremy Clements and Mike Wallace, the entire complexion of the race and the championship battle changed.
The incident left a lot of debris and fluid on the track, causing a lengthy cleanup for track officials. However, instead of stopping the cars and throwing the red flag, NASCAR opted to leave the caution out and ran 12 laps under yellow.
As the laps clicked away, Hornish’s chances to regain the points lead dwindled, and so did the patience of the NASCAR Twittersphere. For many drivers, fans and industry insiders, the thought of running so many laps under caution was unbelievable.
Once the race went back to green with five laps to go, Brad Keselowski made the most of fresh tires and charged to the front. Going from 11th to first in only one lap, Keselowski earned his seventh Nationwide Series victory of the 2013 season.
While Keselowski put his Penske Racing Ford in victory lane at the end of the night, the team was also celebrating with Joey Logano. A sixth-place finish in the No. 22 Ford was good enough to give Roger Penske the owner’s championship by just one point over Joe Gibbs Racing’s No. 54.
Despite all the drama, Austin Dillon burnt the tires up, celebrated with the trophy and will forever be known as the 2013 NASCAR Nationwide Series champion.
Moving to the NASCAR Sprint Cup Series in 2014, Dillon ended his tenure as a full-time Nationwide driver on top of the sport and delivering another championship to Richard Childress and the famous No. 3 Chevrolet.