Is Austin Dillon the luckiest driver in NASCAR?

Nick Bromberg
<a class="link rapid-noclick-resp" href="/nascar/sprint/drivers/1595/" data-ylk="slk:Austin Dillon">Austin Dillon</a> (3) leads <a class="link rapid-noclick-resp" href="/nascar/sprint/drivers/3459/" data-ylk="slk:Daniel Hemric">Daniel Hemric</a> to the checkered flag behind the pace car while under caution during the NASCAR Xfinity series auto race, Saturday, June 9, 2018, in Brooklyn, Mich. (AP Photo/Carlos Osorio)
Austin Dillon (3) leads Daniel Hemric to the checkered flag behind the pace car while under caution during the NASCAR Xfinity series auto race, Saturday, June 9, 2018, in Brooklyn, Mich. (AP Photo/Carlos Osorio)

Austin Dillon is living a damn good life.

He’s won Camping World Truck Series and Xfinity Series championships. He’s made NASCAR’s playoffs in each of the last two seasons and will be a part of them again in 2018. He’s a Daytona 500 champion.

Dillon also won Saturday’s Xfinity Series race at Michigan after a three-quarter lap green flag run following a caution flag. Not long after NASCAR ended a caution for an accident — and extended that caution a lap for rain — rain caused officials to call the race before a green-flag lap could be completed. Dillon was in first at the time of the rain caution and was declared the winner of a race halted 34 laps before its scheduled conclusion.

That Xfinity Series win was Dillon’s fifth win in either the Cup Series or Xfinity Series since the start of the 2016 season. All five of those races have come under extremely fortunate and/or unique circumstances. Let’s take a look. This could be the craziest stretch of wins in NASCAR history.

Auto Club Speedway, March 19, 2016 (Xfinity Series)

Kyle Busch leads 133 of the race’s 150 laps but suffers a flat tire on the last lap. Daniel Suarez takes the lead. And then he runs out of fuel. That allows Dillon to pass him on the final lap and steal the win. It was the only lap Dillon led all day.

Bristol Motor Speedway, August 19, 2016 (Xfinity Series)

Dillon was running fourth behind Brad Keselowski and Kyle Busch late in the race. Keselowski and Busch made contact while racing for the lead. Austin’s brother Ty, running third, was also caught up in the mess after he couldn’t stop soon enough and ran into Busch’s wrecked car. The incident handed the lead over to Dillon who led the final four laps of the race. They were the only four laps he led.

Charlotte Motor Speedway, May 28, 2017 (Cup Series)

Dillon scored his first-career Cup Series win via pit strategy in the Coca-Cola 600. The race went green over the final 67 laps, meaning many teams were on the precipice of making it to the checkered flag without a late pit stop. Since he wasn’t in a position to contend for a win straight up, Dillon and his team played the fuel strategy game and it worked to perfection. He led the final two laps of the race and stole a win.

Yes, those were the only two laps Dillon led during the entire race.

Daytona International Speedway, February 18, 2018 (Cup Series)

Dillon and his team struggled for a handle on his car throughout much of the race. But as top contenders kept crashing out, Dillon didn’t. He was one of the few cars remaining for a late dash towards the checkered flag and stayed in the gas as Aric Almirola threw a block on the final lap.

Dillon’s bumper hit Almirola’s. Almirola hit the wall. And Dillon went on to take the checkered flag, 20 years after the No. 3 car first visited victory lane in the Daytona 500.

Yes, Dillon only led one lap.

Michigan International Speedway, June 9, 2018 (Xfinity Series)

At least Dillon led more than just the final laps of the race this time. He led 18 laps overall on Saturday including the final three of the race. As rain approached Michigan, Dillon and crew chief Nick Harrison decided to play a pit strategy game. While many others could have made it to the scheduled 125-lap distance without an additional pit stop, Dillon couldn’t. But since his team was staring at the radar, they figured they could keep him out on the track and hope for the best.

The best worked out. A caution flew on lap 81 for a four-car incident as rain got closer and closer. Rain then started to fall and NASCAR called off a potential lap 88 restart because of it. NASCAR officials decided to go green on lap 89 and the race made it about 1.5 miles before officials had to call it for rain. Dillon, who was ahead during the caution flag, stayed ahead of teammate Daniel Hemric to get the win.

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Nick Bromberg is a writer for Yahoo Sports.

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