Ty Dillon wins NASCAR Trucks race at Texas

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Ty Dillon brought home the 100th victory for Richard Childress Racing’s No. 3 across the three major NASCAR national series, leading 130 of 147 laps to take tonight’s NASCAR Camping World Truck Series race at Texas Motor Speedway.

After being caught in controversy one week ago at Martinsville Speedway with RCR Sprint Cup driver Kevin Harvick, Dillon was able to claim his second win of the season and the third of his NASCAR Trucks career. He dispatched Ryan Blaney on Lap 117 for the lead and never relinquished it for the remainder of the race.

Dillon, Johnny Sauter, Ron Hornaday Jr., Brendan Gaughan and Justin Lofton made up the Top 5, while Darrell Wallace Jr. followed up his historic win at Martinsville with a seventh-place finish.

Sprint Cup regulars Brad Keselowski and Kyle Busch were expected to have a say in the outcome, but neither of them did. Keselowski brought out an early yellow after contact with another truck and lost a lap before finishing 21st. As for Busch, he wound up 28th after engine problems sidelined him.

Matt Crafton continued his march toward the NASCAR Trucks title with a 10th-place result. He now holds a 46-point edge over James Buescher (finished sixth) and can technically clinch the championship at the next race in Phoenix if that gap grows to at least 49 points.

Marco Andretti confident that fewer tests won’t hurt Andretti Autosport

Photo: IndyCar
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A small point of debate around the 2018 aero kit has been the manufacturer test days that took place through the Fall of 2017 and into the beginning of 2018. Chiefly, the debate has centered around teams who hadn’t participated in those manufacturer test days and if they’re starting the 2018 Verizon IndyCar Series season at a disadvantage as a result.

Team Penske, Ed Carpenter Racing, and A.J. Foyt Racing completed test days for Chevrolet, with Schmidt Peterson Motorsports and Chip Ganassi Racing doing so for Honda.

That left teams like Andretti Autosport out of the mix, with some voicing concerns as a result.

However, in a press conference during testing at ISM Raceway last weekend, Marco Andretti explained that he thinks Andretti Autosport should be able to catch up on development, citing the team’s resources – they’re the only IndyCar team with four full-time cars in their stable – and the fact that everyone is still adapting to the new kit.

“I feel like it’s early enough days that, yes, we can catch up,” Andretti said at ISM Raceway. “When there is anything new, a new car, new aero kit, at-track days are huge. We can sim all these things we want. To really get out there and confirm what we’re learning back at the shop is another thing.”

Ryan Hunter-Reay during testing at ISM Raceway. Photo: IndyCar

Andretti continued, “Yeah, I don’t think we should look at it like we’re behind the eight ball. With a four-car team, that’s where we can use it to our benefit. So far so good.”

Teammate Ryan Hunter-Reay, echoed Andretti’s sentiments, adding that while the situation is not perfect, they will need to adapt to it in order to remain competitive.

“Any time you have a new car, to put it into perspective, we’re on track three days on a road course before we get to (the season open in St. Petersburg). That’s a very short amount of time. It’s obviously not ideal, but we’re just going to lace up our boots and get on with it. That’s all you can do.”

Andretti Autosport will have one more team test, at Sebring International Raceway later on in February, before the season-opening Firestone Grand Prix of St. Petersburg.

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