Austin Dillon: Darlington, South Carolina Is Just A Cool Place To Visitby Hunter Thomas August 27, 2019 0 comments
DARLINGTON, S.C. – Austin Dillon enters this year’s Bojangles’ Southern 500 hoping to improve on his recent finishes at Darlington Raceway as he looks to upset the field and possibly win his way into the NASCAR Playoffs.
Dillon, who is mired way back in 23rd in the standings, has no chance of reaching the 2019 NASCAR Playoffs without winning at Darlington or Indianapolis Motor Speedway and being within the top-20 in points. At Darlington, Dillon has a great opportunity to pull off the upset based off his career success at the track, Too Tough To Tame.
In his first-ever trip to Darlington back in 2010 in the NASCAR Gander Outdoors Truck Series, the North Carolina native finished fifth. The following year, he finished 15th.
Even once he graduated to the NASCAR Xfinity Series, Dillon continued the success by finishing 5th, 11th and 10th in his three starts at the Lady in Black.
In 2014, Dillon made his first Darlington start in the Monster Energy NASCAR Cup Series, and despite the inexperience, he finished 11th. Since then, Dillon has placed 22nd, 12th, 4th and 16th since 2015. Most notably, Dillon wants to improve on his fourth-place effort from two years ago in 2017.
“We need to progress on what we did two seasons ago there,” Dillon said. “We ran fourth. Last year, we were a little off compared to where we were the year before. I feel like if we do our job from unloading off the truck, we can definitely upset some people there. It can be a good track for us. I’m looking forward to it. It’s obviously a place where I like to go. It’s fun. Man, throwback week is awesome, and Darlington, South Carolina is just a cool place to visit.”
Dillon is coming off a disappointing, rough night at Bristol Motor Speedway where he finished 34th. This season, he has only finished inside the top-10 on three occasions, and with the chances of making the NASCAR Playoffs becoming slimmer every week, Dillon and his Richard Childress Racing No. 3 Chevrolet team have an opportunity to improve on the past and make something happen at Darlington. This season, the Monster Energy NASCAR Cup Series will be running a different rules package at Darlington than in years past, and Dillon believes the scenario will play into his hands as the racing may be similar to when the NASCAR Gander Outdoors Truck Series visited the track.
“It’s a place that you’ve really got to do your homework a little bit before, because it takes a little bit of a different driving style,” Dillon said. “I think we’re all going to be kind of venturing into a new place here with a different horsepower package that we’re taking to Darlington for the first time. I feel like it’s going to be more like our Truck race used to be when we ran at Darlington. I ran there one time in Trucks.”
Dillon continued and said, “That track wears out each and every year a little bit more, and it gets slicker and slicker. We’ll work hard to make sure our car has good forward drive. A lot different from Bristol, but we’ll work hard to get it right.”
Come Labor Day weekend at Darlington Raceway, Dillon will be piloting an American Ethanol sponsored back and gold race car that is a throwback to Richard Childress’ scheme that he ran in the late 1970s. This season, Richard Childress Racing is celebrating 50 years, so that’s why the team isn’t running a 1990-1994 scheme.
“We’re just trying to honor 50 years at RCR,” Dillon said. “There’s no better person to do it after than my grandfather. It’s one of my favorite paint schemes that he has ever ran when he was driving race cars. That black and gold car just goes well with the gold theme that we’ve kind of carried throughout the year.”
The Bojangles’ Southern 500 at Darlington Raceway will broadcast live on the NBC Sports Network (NBCSN) and the Motor Racing Network (MRN) at 6 p.m. ET.
Photo Credit: Hunter Thomas/TheFourthTurn.com