Dillon pushes Hamlin’s Toyota to victory in Can-Am Duel

If there was a surprise in Thursday night’s Can-Am Duel 150 qualifying races, the biggest came in the second race, when in the closing stages of the race Austin Dillon pushed Denny Hamlin to victory.

Dale Earnhardt Jr. led 53 of 60 laps in the race, but with two laps to go, Dillon hooked up with Hamlin, who blew by to victory, while Earnhardt faded to sixth after getting hung out in the draft.

Earnhardt and Dillon, of course, both drive Chevrolets. For that matter, Earnhardt’s late father won six of his NASCAR Premier Series championships driving for Dillon’s car owner and grandfather Richard Childress.

And yet Dillon hooked up with Hamlin and his Joe Gibbs Racing Toyota at the end of the race.

“I think that we just worked together the entire race,” Hamlin said of Dillon.  “It’s no different than if it was the other way around.  I’d have a hard time not pushing him if I had worked with him the entire race.  I would have a hard time not pushing him to a win.

“The 88 (Earnhardt) is a manufacturer teammate but not a car owner teammate,” said Hamlin.  “It’s kind of a weird line there.”

Indeed it is.

But afterward, Earnhardt didn’t seem too upset.