Saturday's roundup: Hamlin holds off Dillon in fiery finish
Loudon, N.H. — Denny Hamlin turned sideways into Kyle Busch and had Austin Dillon all bent out of shape.
Hamlin roughed up the field and bruised some feelings, when he nudged Dillon out of the lead Saturday and raced to his second NASCAR Xfinity Series victory of the season.
Hamlin had the dominant car and led 145 of the 200 laps at New Hampshire Motor Speedway. But when Dillon briefly took the lead, Hamlin put his No. 20 into the left side of Dillon's car at lap 179 and knocked him out of the way. Hamlin was mad because he said Dillon jumped the restart, forcing him to make the hit-and-run pass any driver should attempt in that situation.
Dillon lashed out after the race and said Hamlin purposely tried to wreck him and vowed payback, though he stopped short of saying it would come in Sunday's Sprint Cup race.
"What is racing if you can't race side by side for more than a corner? He never even went through a corner with me. The whole race," Dillon said. "Didn't want to, just moved me, missed the corner, wrecked me. I'm fine with racing rough. I promise you, I can do it to anybody."
Hamlin and Dillon feuded in 2012 after they tangled in the second-tier series race at Texas Motor Speedway. It carried over when Hamlin leveled a nepotism charge against Dillon, grandson of team owner Richard Childress, saying, "He got his ride because of his name,"
"He called me a spoiled rich kid at Texas two years ago. And I hate it," Dillon said. "He said check the last name. I said my last name's Dillon, not Childress. But he is my grandfather. I'll always act with class. Everybody in the media knows that. I've worked my way here like anyone else. With Denny acting like that, what does he want me to call him? I don't do that. I know how to act."
What to call Hamlin? He had a simple retort: "A winner."
Hamlin, with a spot in the Chase for the Sprint Cup championship secured, also challenged Dillon to come after him on the track Sunday.
"I have nothing to lose," Hamlin said. "It's the heat of the moment. As upset as he was that I moved him out of the way, I was just as upset that he jumped the restart.'
Dillon, who walked away from a horrifying wreck this month in the Cup race at Daytona, could have formed a tag team of ticked off drivers to face off against Hamlin.
Hamlin also irked Busch, his Joe Gibbs Racing teammate, early in the race when he got sideways and knocked both drivers to the back of the field.
Busch sternly said, "'it didn't do anything, it didn't matter," to the final result.
Hamlin also won the series race at Richmond in April. He brushed off his dust-up with Dillon.
"Eventually, I was going to get back around him anyway," Hamlin said.
Brad Keselowski (Rochester Hills) was third, Busch fourth and Daniel Suarez fifth. Chris Buescher was 14th and maintained his lead in the series standings.
Chilton dedicates race to Bianchi
England's Max Chilton won the Indy Lights race in Iowa after dedicating the race to former teammate Jules Bianchi, the French Formula One driver died early Saturday from injuries sustained in October in the Japanese Grand Prix.
Bianchi and Chilton were teammates for Marussia in 2013 and 2014. Chilton said he found out Friday night about his friend's death and dedicated the race to Bianchi after winning the pole.
"It's been a difficult nine months, to be brutally honest with you," Chilton said. "I've learned a lot from him, and he was part of that win."
Chilton then dominated the 100-lap race on Iowa Speedway's 0.894-mile oval, leading 87 laps for his first win in any series since 2012.
The pole and subsequent win was a bit of surprise considering that Chilton sat just 10th out of 15 drivers in Indy Lights, a feeder program for the IndyCar series, entering the weekend.
"I probably thought of him every five or 10 laps, because he was a driver destined to probably be a world champion," Chilton said.
Ed Jones was second, followed by RC Enerson.