‘Overlooked’ playoff driver Austin Dillon stars in Southern 500

Dillon nearly ran down race winner Kevin Harvick in the closing laps and finished an impressive second in the first race of the 2020 playoffs, putting himself 10 points above the cut line.

The result was just his third top-five of the season, but it couldn’t have come at a better time. He started the race from the rear of the field after a tire mix-up and gathered just three stage points before surging to the front in the final run of the night.

When Chase Elliott and Martin Truex Jr. collided in the fight for the race lead, Dillon suddenly found himself with a real shot at the win as he closed in on Harvick. He came just 0.343s shy of Harvick at the finish after a impressive last-lap charge, placing higher than 14 of his 15 playoff rivals.

“I get overlooked some, probably more than most, I don’t know why.” said Dillon post-race. “I always feel like I perform pretty well in pressure situations, and RCR as a whole can step up. I have total belief in the No. 3 team and probably more belief this year than I’ve ever had because we’ve brought consistent speed to the track, and we might not have gotten every finish that we should have gotten this year but we’ve gotten a lot of good finishes. It’s been one of my best years statistically and just the ability behind the cars are better.”

Battling adversity

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