Skip to content

Austin Dillon claims NASCAR Nationwide Series title with 12th place finish

Nov 16, 2013, 8:01 PM EDT

Ford EcoBoost 300 - Qualifying Getty Images

With a 12th-place finish in tonight’s Ford Ecoboost 300 at Homestead-Miami Speedway, Austin Dillon has won the 2013 NASCAR Nationwide Series driver’s championship – becoming the first driver to claim a NASCAR national series title without winning a race.

Dillon won the crown by a margin of three points over Sam Hornish Jr., who finished eighth in tonight’s race but came up just short of his first stock car title.

After struggling for much of the night with handling problems, Dillon was able to move into the Top 10 late. With 17 laps to go, the caution came out for a multi-car incident off of Turn 4 that involved Regan Smith, Jeremy Clements and Mike Wallace.

But instead of a red flag being thrown to provide a longer run of green-flag racing at the end, the clean-up under the yellow extended long enough for NASCAR to have to wave off the restart three times. Finally, with five laps to go and Hornish and Dillon running third and fifth respectively, the race resumed.

Hornish and Dillon both fell back but Dillon was able to hang on to enough positions in the last handful of laps to bring the famous No. 3 back to a championship stage and make his team owner and grandfather, Richard Childress, shed tears of joy.

“We didn’t have the car tonight at all to run up there,” Dillon said to ESPN before hoisting the NNS championship trophy. “That was probably the worst car we’ve had all year. But we fought. My guys just kept me positive in the car, and I knew that I had to go on that last restart.

“I’ve been criticized for restarts for a long time, and that was a pretty good one. I just hung up there against the wall and tried to ride it out. I just have to thank God, [sponsor] Advocare, Chevrolet, everybody that helped us, my grandfather and my whole family. They’re so supportive, and this is amazing.”

As for Childress, he tried his level best to express himself even as he was clearly overcome with emotion.

“I couldn’t be more proud of Austin,” he said. “He drives with his heart, every lap. What can you say? He’s just a great competitor and a great grandson.”

Consistency was the hallmark this season for Dillon, who didn’t score a win but racked up 13 Top-5s and 22 Top-10s. In the end, it was enough to make him a champion.

More to come tonight…

Latest Posts
  1. Report: Vautier to replace Huertas at last-minute for Indy 500

    May 21, 2015, 11:51 PM EDT

    Photo: INDYCAR Photo: INDYCAR

    In a bizarre and truly 11th hour circumstance, Tristan Vautier appears set to replace Carlos Huertas in Sunday’s Indianapolis 500.

  2. IndyCar driver raises concern about design of wishbone that injured James Hinchcliffe in crash

    May 21, 2015, 5:57 PM EDT

    James Hinchcliffe James Hinchcliffe

    Oriol Servia says a connecting rod was removed that might have prevented the part from piercing the tub and critically injuring driver.

  3. GP2: Rossi storms to pole position in Monaco qualifying

    May 21, 2015, 5:00 PM EDT

    © GP2 Series © GP2 Series

    American driver claims his second pole position in GP2 with a mesmerising display in Monaco on Thursday.

  4. SPM targets Monday for next driver confirmation in No. 5 car as drivers await

    May 21, 2015, 4:32 PM EDT

    Photo: INDYCAR Photo: INDYCAR

    The No. 5 beyond Indy 500 could be Daly, Wilson, or A.N. Other.

  5. Formula E: Audi Sport ABT confirms unchanged line-up for season two

    May 21, 2015, 4:00 PM EDT

    BUENOS AIRES, ARGENTINA - JANUARY 08:  Daniel Abt poses for pictures next to his car during a paddock preview at Puerto Madero Street Race Track on January 08, 2015 in Buenos Aires, Argentina. (Photo by Gabriel Rossi/LatinContent/Getty Images) Getty Images

    Daniel Abt confirmed to be remaining with his family team for season two of the Formula E series.

  6. IndyCar confirms Boston race for 2016

    May 21, 2015, 3:47 PM EDT

    BostonStreetTrack

    Boston confirmed for 2016 and beyond in IndyCar.

  7. Ethan Ringel scores Indy Lights pole for Freedom 100

    May 21, 2015, 3:33 PM EDT

    Photo: IMS Photography, LLC Photo: IMS Photography, LLC

    SPM takes four of the top five spots on the Indy Lights grid.

  8. Alonso: New rules proof F1 went in the wrong direction

    May 21, 2015, 2:30 PM EDT

    xxxx during practice for the Monaco Formula One Grand Prix at Circuit de Monaco on May 21, 2015 in Monte-Carlo, Monaco. Getty Images

    The McLaren driver lends his support to the proposed changes to F1 for 2017.

  9. Button happy with refuelling return, but remains keen to see a tire war in F1

    May 21, 2015, 1:00 PM EDT

    xxxx during previews to the Monaco Formula One Grand Prix at Circuit de Monaco on May 20, 2015 in Monte-Carlo, Monaco. Getty Images

    McLaren driver talks about the proposed changes for F1 ahead of this weekend’s Monaco Grand Prix.

  10. Briscoe: “I’ve been made as comfortable as I could be in this situation”

    May 21, 2015, 12:31 PM EDT

    BriscoeIMS Getty Images

    Given the circumstances, Ryan Briscoe feels comfortable heading into his fill-in role for James Hinchcliffe in the Indianapolis 500.

  11. Bottas flattered by speculation linking him to Ferrari

    May 21, 2015, 12:00 PM EDT

    MONTE-CARLO, MONACO - MAY 20:  Valtteri Bottas of Finland and Williams (rear) and Kimi Raikkonen of Finland and Ferrari (front) attend the drivers press conference during previews to the Monaco Formula One Grand Prix at Circuit de Monaco on May 20, 2015 in Monte-Carlo, Monaco.  (Photo by Paul Gilham/Getty Images) Getty Images

    Williams driver admits that he is flattered to be linked with a drive at a top team, but remains coy when asked about a possible move away for 2016.

  12. Briscoe officially confirmed in Hinchcliffe’s car for Indy 500

    May 21, 2015, 11:19 AM EDT

    Photo: SPM IndyCar Photo: SPM IndyCar

    Briscoe replacement for James Hinchcliffe made official Thursday morning.

  13. Hamilton: No doubt I’d re-sign with Mercedes

    May 21, 2015, 11:00 AM EDT

    MONTE-CARLO, MONACO - MAY 20:  Lewis Hamilton of Great Britain and Mercedes GP walks in the paddock during previews to the Monaco Formula One Grand Prix at Circuit de Monaco on May 20, 2015 in Monte-Carlo, Monaco.  (Photo by Paul Gilham/Getty Images) Getty Images

    Defending world champion says he never contemplated leaving Mercedes for another team.

  14. The 100th Indy 500 and GP of Indy 2016 dates are released

    May 21, 2015, 10:52 AM EDT

    Photo: IMS Photo: IMS

    Logo and date for the 100th Indianapolis 500 is revealed.

  15. F1 Paddock Pass: Monaco Grand Prix (VIDEO)

    May 21, 2015, 9:53 AM EDT

    McLaren Honda's Spanish driver Fernando Alonso (C) and Mercedes AMG Petronas F1 Team's German driver Nico Rosberg (L) drive  during the first practice session at the Monaco street circuit in Monte-Carlo on May 21, 2015, ahead of the Monaco Formula One Grand Prix. AFP PHOTO / PHILIPPE DESMAZES        (Photo credit should read PHILIPPE DESMAZES/AFP/Getty Images) Getty Images

    Will Buxton brings you all of the interviews and news ahead of the biggest event on the F1 calendar: the Monaco Grand Prix.

  16. Hamilton tops quiet second Monaco GP practice

    May 21, 2015, 9:31 AM EDT

    MONTE-CARLO, MONACO - MAY 21:  Lewis Hamilton of Great Britain and Mercedes GP drives during practice for the Monaco Formula One Grand Prix at Circuit de Monaco on May 21, 2015 in Monte-Carlo, Monaco.  (Photo by Mark Thompson/Getty Images) Getty Images

    Hamilton continues his good form by posting the fastest time in FP2 before the rain falls and limits running in Monaco on Thursday.

  17. WATCH LIVE: FP2 for the Monaco Grand Prix on NBCSN and Live Extra from 8am ET

    May 21, 2015, 7:46 AM EDT

    xxxx during practice for the Monaco Formula One Grand Prix at Circuit de Monaco on May 21, 2015 in Monte-Carlo, Monaco. Getty Images

    Lewis Hamilton bids to double up in the second free practice session in Monaco on Thursday.

  18. Hamilton quickest in opening practice for Monaco GP

    May 21, 2015, 5:36 AM EDT

    Mercedes AMG Petronas F1 Team's British driver Lewis Hamilton  drives during the first practice session at the Monaco street circuit in Monte-Carlo on May 21, 2015, ahead of the Monaco Formula One Grand Prix.        (Photo credit should read BORIS HORVAT/AFP/Getty Images) Getty Images

    Hamilton quickest in a busy FP1 session in Monaco as Max Verstappen and Daniel Ricciardo spring a surprise to finish second and third respectively.

  19. WATCH LIVE: FP1 for the Monaco Grand Prix on Live Extra from 4am ET

    May 21, 2015, 3:45 AM EDT

    xxxx during previews to the Monaco Formula One Grand Prix at Circuit de Monaco on May 20, 2015 in Monte-Carlo, Monaco. Getty Images

    As is tradition in Monaco, practice kicks off on Thursday for the race weekend.

  20. Beekhuis offers clarity on Hinchcliffe crash, concern about what could happen in Indy 500

    May 20, 2015, 10:40 PM EDT

    (Photo courtesy Jon Beekhuis official Twitter account) (Photo courtesy Jon Beekhuis official Twitter account)

    Jon Beekhuis, veteran IndyCar pit reporter and past driver, provides some valuable insights into the type of crash James Hinchcliffe had on Monday, having been through one similarly in the past.