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Wallace was a frontrunner in the early stages before he allowed his 23XI Toyota Camry’s temperatures to drop too low during a spate of caution periods.
Once remedied, he battled back into the battle at the front of the field until a clash over second place with Dillon – with just seven laps of the 150 to go – pushed him to the rear.
“The 3 just never tried to make the corner, he was always running into my left-rear,” said Wallace about his duel with Dillon. “It is what it is, I got run into the fence by him on the straightaway on a restart, so I gave him a shot.
“And then we get dumped, so… it sucks.”
Dillon went on to finish second in his Richard Childress Racing Chevrolet, just ahead of new teammate Kyle Busch.
“I hate it for Bubba, he had a good car and a good run,” said Dillon. “But you can’t tell who’s either pushing him or getting pushed.
“I just know he sent me through the corner and I saved it three times through there, released the brake and all kinds of stuff, and then when I got down, I was going to give the same.
“Probably was a little too hard.”
Austin Dillon, Richard Childress Racing, Get Bioethanol Chevrolet
Photo by: Nigel Kinrade / NKP / Motorsport Images
When asked if he thought the racing was too rough, and whether wronged drivers would carry ideas of exacting revenge in future races, Dillon said it was part and parcel of NASCAR short track racing.
“I think everybody knows here that there’s going to be contact,” he said. “The first 30 laps, my head was against the head rest probably every lap. It was just bang, bang, back and forth, every corner.
“I couldn’t believe how aggressive it was the first run. There was nothing but just hammer each other and hope to come out the other side.
“I got hit one time at the end, when we got back in line, it knocked the wheel out of my hands. I couldn’t believe it. Just kind of picked up the gas and caught it back.
“But you’re taking some pretty good blows out there and trying to stay calm. I think Martin [Truex Jr, who won the race] got mad at me one time, and it was the 24 [William Byron] driving through me. The hard part is knowing if it’s the guy behind you or if it’s the guy two behind you or even three.
“You’ve got to have a short memory about it. Obviously Bubba knocked me through the corner. I was going to hit him back. Didn’t mean to turn him like that, but when it gets down to the end I think everybody knows what’s going on.”