Dillon earns 1st win at Coca-Cola 600

And on the same day that we were all reminiscing about how IndyCar star Alexander Rossi won last year's Indy 500 on fuel strategy, we saw Austin Dillon win the Coca-Cola 600 on fuel strategy.

Dillon and his crew had a little fun celebrating on the infield grass afterward.

Kyle Busch finished second, and Martin Truex Jr. was third after leading 233 of the 400 laps that made up the race.

Austin Dillon won the Coca-Cola 600 from Charlotte Motor Speedway in Concord, North Carolina, on Sunday night, after lightning delays pushed the race back further into the evening. "I can't believe it", Dillon said in Victory Lane, his first trip in 133 Cup races.

NASCAR is trying to inject some excitement into Charlotte Motor Speedway, where recent races have been relatively predictable, even boring: When a lead vehicle breaks free from the pack, it's been almost impossible to catch.

Dillon was one of a handful of drivers that elected not to take a pit stop on lap 368 of the Coca-Cola 600, choosing instead to push his auto to the limit.

Four years after that emotional and somewhat controversial decision to bring the No. 3 back, Austin Dillon delivered with his first Series Cup victory early Monday at the Coca-Cola 600, a victory that resonated with Earnhardt fans across the country and left his grandfather on the verge of tears.

The scene was something to behold, as cars around him ran out of gas on the final lap of the race.

Dale Earnhardt Jr.'s first childhood memories of Cup Series racing come from Charlotte Motor Speedway. We just - we missed it a little bit on our last adjustment.

Dillon was running second to Jimmie Johnson in the closing laps.

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"He was the best of all time", Dillon said of Earnhardt. "I want to keep adding to it as much as I can".

Denny Hamlin qualified sixth in his Toyota, ahead of Ryan Blaney's Ford in seventh while last year's dominating Coca-Cola 600 victor, Martin Truex Jr. timed his Toyota into the eighth starting position.

"It hasn't sunk in". We're in the Chase.

Busch took the race lead from Joe Gibbs Racing teammate Hamlin, and Truex moved into second on the restart at the beginning of the fourth and final 100-lap stage.

It is the first time the famed number three vehicle has been in victory lane for the Coca-Cola 600 since Dale Earnhardt beat Jeff Gordon in 1993. Equally important, he was joined in the top five by Kyle Busch and Denny Hamlin. Truex pitted a final time with 33 laps left, confident hed be able to hold on after everyone cycled through a last stop.

"This place is tough", he said.

Dillon becomes the seventh different driver to score his first career Cup Series victory in the Coca-Cola 600, joining David Pearson (1961), Jeff Gordon (1994), Bobby Labonte (1995), Matt Kenseth (2000), Casey Mears (2007) and David Reutimann (2009). However, this Coca-Cola 600 like many would come down to fuel mileage and a long green-flag run to end the night.

Johnson limped home to finish in 17th. Take that information that you give them, and I lean on my guys so much to just give me the feel I need.

"Many of our fans like to plan their summer vacations around our NASCAR weekend, so being able to announce the date more than a year in advance helps them plan their trip to New Hampshire", said David McGrath, executive vice president and general manager of the speedway. Pole sitter Kevin Harvick led the most laps (42), but Busch passed him late in the first stage for the playoff points. He will start 39th after problems in pre-qualifying inspection on Thursday (May 25).

While Larson, Kyle Busch, and Clint Bowyer all made varying degrees of contact with the wall during practice in part due to a traction enhancing substance applied to the upper groove of the speedway, there were no incidents during the three rounds of qualifying.

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