Brooklyn, Mich.— The Xfinity series drivers put on a show in the LTi Printing 250 race at Michigan International Speedway with three-wide racing and a lot of bumping and passing with the new rules package put in play.
The Xfinity series showcased a high-downforce, high-drag restrictor-plate package similar to what the NASCAR Cup series held in the All-Star race last month at Charlotte.
Series points leader Elliott Sadler predicted it to be a wild ride with drivers needing to be at the top of their game in the race, which was delayed three hours.
And, in the end, it was Richard Childress Racing teammates Austin Dillon and Daniel Hemric working together with Hemric pushing Dillon past Ryan Reed with 49 laps remaining for the lead.
Dillon still needed to hold off the field on a final restart with 37 laps left and Hemric now on his inside being pushed by Reed while Dillon was pushed to the front by Cole Custer and going on to win the rain-shortened race in his No. 3 Bass Pro Shops/Cabela's Chevrolet.
"I'm glad we could put the 3 back to Victory Lane today," said Dillon, who won the NASCAR series-opening Daytona 500 and ended a 26-race winless streak in the Xfinity series. "I wanted that rain to come and we had a good strategy (staying on track and not pitting)."
Hemric, 27, earned a career-high finish with the runner-up spot.
"It definitely stings being that close," Hemric said. "I just didn't capitalize like I needed on that restart, didn't execute like I needed to get to Victory Lane, but great day for RCR. Austin rose to the occasion."
It was a great day for RCR. The 1-2 finish ended the company's 55-race winless streak in the series.
Custer finished third in the No. 00 Ford while Reed was fourth in the No. 16 Ford.
Sadler had his moments, then crashed and purposely ran into Alex Bowman’s No. 23 Chevrolet after earlier failing to squeeze between Bowman and another car, leading him to hit the wall.
Sadler, blaming Bowman, ran into the left side of Bowman’s car, causing damage.
Earlier, Sadler stayed out when the leaders, including Kyle Busch, Kevin Harvick and Bowman went in the pits with three laps left in Stage 2, and with rain threatening, while under caution.
When the green flag came out with a lap left in Stage 2, Sadler took the lead and went on to win Stage 2, followed by Ryan Truex and Reed.
Still, soon after Stage 3 started and Sadler leading, Kaz Grala went on the inside of Sadler, passing him for the lead with Christopher Bell getting loose to force a caution.
Grala started 40th in the No. 61 Ford and also had a penalty on pit road for an uncontrolled tire, but still had a solid run, finishing 11th.
Busch, the pole sitter, won Stage 1 after 30 laps. He finished sixth.
Busch was among a handful of NASCAR Cup series drivers in the field, along with Dillon, Kevin Harvick, Bowman and Menard.
Harvick, who finished eighth, will carry a series-high five wins into Sunday’s FireKeepers Casino 400 with Busch owning four.
Sadler entered the race with a series-high nine top-5 finishes in 12 races, but still looking for his first win of the season. He finished 30th.
Bell, driving the No. 20 Toyota Camry for Joe Gibbs Racing, was running third behind Busch and Sadler on Lap 17 when spinning out and suffering damage to right side.
Bell, 23, was two laps down, but battled his way back to the lead lap and was running ninth after Stage 2, but finished 11th after getting loose a second time.