Austin Dillon was uninjured in a hard crash where his car slammed into a wall during Sunday's Sprint Cup race, but the same couldn't be said for his championships hopes, which took a major hit in the Bank of America 500 at Charlotte Motor Speedway.
Dillon was positioned second on a restart with 76 laps left when Martin Truex Jr. bumped him from behind, turning Dillon's car into the inside wall at the end of the pit, where it sustained considerable damage. And the carnage extended beyond just the battered No. 3 Chevrolet, with a chain-reaction crash collecting a total of 14 cars, including playoff drivers Kyle Busch, Chase Elliott, Carl Edwards, and Kurt Busch.
Just before the restart, Dillon had gotten two tires during pit stops and appeared to slow when the green flag waved. But Truex said he accepted full responsibility for hitting Dillon and merely tried to shove Dillon to get him up to speed.
"I feel terrible about that," Truex said. "I was just trying to help get him going and just pushed way too hard, so I just want to apologize."
Dillon believed he got through the gears quickly and didn't stall.
"I don't know what I would have done different," he said. "Hopefully, not wrecked."
Truex would go on to finish 13th after dealing with an electrical issue late, while Dillon finished 32nd. That result doesn't give the Richard Childress Racing driver any margin error if he's going to advance in the Chase for the Sprint Cup.
With two second round races remaining, Dillon trails Denny Hamlin by three points entering Sunday's race at Kansas Speedway. The Round 2 elimination race is set for the following week at Talladega Superspeedway.
"It just sucks," Dillon said. "We will have to work hard the next two weeks to get the points back."