Aric Almirola and Austin Dillon led more laps in a Cup Series race Sunday than in the last several years of their careers.
In total, Almirola lead four times for 70 laps, the most laps he has led in a Cup Series race. His previous best was 69 laps led at Kansas Speedway in October 2012.
Additionally, it was the first time Almirola led the most laps among the competition in NASCAR’s premier series.
Dillon stayed out during a cycle of green flag pit stops and led 13 total laps. It was the most laps the Richard Childress Racing driver has led in a race since Michigan in August of 2015 (19).
TROUBLE FOR BOTH DRIVERS
Almirola had to pit twice for loose wheels, including once when he was leading the race in Stage 2. The Stewart-Haas Racing driver went on to finish 25th, one lap down.
“Our car was super fast, especially out in clean air, it was incredibly fast,” he said. “We just have to execute. We have to put a whole race together. That is the difference between being good and being great. We are capable of winning. We showed it today.
“We have speed, we are bringing incredible race cars to the race track and we just have to put a whole day together.”
With nine races until the playoffs start, Almirola unofficially sits 12th on the postseason grid, 126 points above 17th-place Ricky Stenhouse Jr.
On lap 192, Dillon’s No. 3 machine suffered from a brake fire in the right-front tire well.
Dillon, who is a virtual lock into the playoffs with his win in the Daytona 500, ultimately fell out of the race and finished 37th.
“Burnt up another hub,” Dillon said on Twitter. “We just got the car pretty solid running 12th when it broke. We’ll go back to work and figure it out at the shop.”
I am a co-owner and reporter for TheRacingExperts.com.