In the Fast Lane with Austin Dillon

Presently, Dillon's season has seen him smiling in Charlotte's Victory Lane. (Photo Credit: Jeremy Thompson)

Presently, Dillon’s season has seen him smiling in Charlotte’s Victory Lane. (Photo Credit: Jeremy Thompson)

Over the past years, Austin Dillon has compiled his fair share of accolades and accomplishments. Winning the NASCAR Camping World Truck Series championship in 2011 and NASCAR Xfinity Series title two seasons later, the 27-year-old racer has made his presence known as a gritty, passionate racer.

For the past four years, Dillon has been at the helm of the No. 3 Dow/American Ethanol Chevrolet SS fielded by Richard Childress Racing. By the same token, this second generation competitor understands and respects the traditions of the sport and with his team.

Furthermore, Dillon’s competitive drive to succeed and thrive in the No. 3 car is evident each race weekend. As a matter of fact, the North Carolinian remains focused on making gains on the track despite an exciting first career Monster Energy NASCAR Cup Series victory at the Coca-Cola 600 at Charlotte.

Be that is it may, Dillon remains optimistic about his chances for more playoff points and wins during the summer stretch. Ultimately, he expressed confidence with his team and crew chief Justin Alexander.

In fact, with four top-15 results and six top-20’s in the past seven races, Dillon and the No. 3 team appear to be building towards long term success starting this season.  At any rate, make sure he returns from Westeros and Essos.

Recently, I caught up with Dillon during opening day of the NASCAR race weekend at New Hampshire Motor Speedway. In any case, let’s talk racing by getting “In the Fast Lane with Austin Dillon!”

Rob Tiongson :  Earlier this season, you scored your first career Cup win at Charlotte earning a playoff spot in the process.  With Loudon kicking off the second half of 2017, how would you evaluate your season to date and what are some things you’re looking to improve on during this summer stretch?

Arguably, Dillon wants his No. 3 team prepared for a strong playoff run. (Photo Credit: Jeremy Thompson)

Arguably, Dillon wants his No. 3 team prepared for a strong playoff run. (Photo Credit: Jeremy Thompson)

Austin Dillon :  Just overall speed, really, with our car.  I think we’re working better together as a team and we’re doing a good job of calling races during go time.  It’s just trying to get more speed and our drivability a little better.

RT :  In addition, you’ve worked with crew chief Justin Alexander since the 600.  In fact, what has he brought to the table that you feel has helped your team’s efforts in the past month and a half?

AD :  I think he’s done a good job of stepping in and taking over as the leader and working with the guys.  They’re all getting along well and that’s what you want to see.

RT :  Presently, with the revamped stage and points format introduced throughout the top three NASCAR series, has it made racing more intense for you? At the same time, are there some aspects that they could change to enhance the on-track product?

AD :  Man, I really think that the stage racing has really helped out NASCAR with making the racing awesome.  It’s been an awesome addition to our sport. It’s been fun to watch and it’s created a lot of first time winners.

RT :  It’s been pretty neat because Richard Childress Racing has been able to earn two playoff spots this year, duplicating what your team has done in recent years.  For you, with this upcoming stretch starting at Loudon and wrapping up at Richmond, do you feel like this allows you guys to be aggressive and are there certain tracks that you’re saying, “You know what?  This is where we can get additional playoff points and our second win of the year?”

At any rate, Dillon has risen to the challenge of Cup racing. (Photo Credit: Jeremy Thompson)

At any rate, Dillon has risen to the challenge of Cup racing. (Photo Credit: Jeremy Thompson)

AD :  I think this (Loudon) is a good place for us to gain some more points.  We’re working hard on getting that second win.  Like I’ve said, it’s about working on speed and our drivability.  If we can do that, we’ll have a shot come Sunday.

RT : I’ve got to ask you about the recently revealed Darlington throwback car.  How excited are you to drive one of the most iconic paint schemes for your team and the sport?

AD :  Yea, we’re looking forward to running that at Darlington.  It’s a special paint scheme with a lot of history behind it and a very special person who’s won in it.  Me and (Ryan) Newman are both really excited.  Darlington’s a fun place.  What they do there, it really puts on a show for the fans and I’m glad we take part in it.

RT :  Meanwhile, you and your brother Ty will be hosting the 3rd annual Dillon Bros. 3 on 3 Basketball Tournament on July 26.  How did the tournament form and what are some ways that race fans can help contribute to the Childress Institute for Pediatric Trauma, be it locally or from points elsewhere in the country?

AD :  The Childress Institute for Pediatric Trauma is a great cause.  The number one killer for kids in America is pediatric trauma.  We’re trying to teach first responders how to react to an instance (of it) and teaching kids about awareness with it and wearing helmets.

What we’ve done with is put together a charity basketball tournament with a couple of celebrities that come in and play something that they don’t usually do in their day job.  We have fun with that.  It’s on July 26th at Catawba College right near Salisbury, NC.

There’s 16 teams and it’s a double elimination tournament with a pretty cool trophy.  It’s a lot of fun.  You get to meet some different people from all walks of life as far as the celebrities go and different sports groups and a couple of country music guys too.

RT :  Is there a particular star that you’re looking forward to playing with or against?

AD :  Yea, DeAngelo Williams is going to be there.  That’s going to be a lot of fun.  I’m a huge football fan and it’s great to get those guys out there.

RT :  That’s going to be pretty cool!  Let’s talk a bit off track for a moment.  All things considered, when you’re relaxing, what is your guilty pleasure TV show that you enjoy watching?

AD :  Oh man, I’m a huge Game of Thrones fan!

RT :  (chuckles) Is there a particular reason you like that show?

AD :  I don’t know man.  Man, I enjoy that show and the intensity and it’s cool watching a little bit of the fiction and nonfiction mixed together.

RT : Let’s put you in the hot seat as an owner/driver.  If you could choose multiple drivers, from any racing series in any era, which drivers would you pick as a teammate because you liked them, wanted them on your team towards the end of your career, and still would race with, even if they were an annoyance on or off the track?

AD :  Who would I want as my teammates?

RT :  Yea, your sort of dream team, if you will.

Perhaps Dillon's already with his dream team. (Photo Credit: Jeremy Thompson)

Perhaps Dillon’s already with his dream team. (Photo Credit: Jeremy Thompson)

AD :  Well, it’d be cool to be on a team…well, when I think of that, I think of my brother (Ty) but he’s kind of a partner already.  We’re already teammates in certain ways due to our affiliation with Germain Racing.  I think other than that, I’d want Kyle Larson or a Chase Elliott, those guys.

RT :  I’d say that’s a pretty good team right there and it’s cool that you’d want your brother on your team.  Lastly, has there been a “welcome to NASCAR” moment for both of you on track?

AD :  Heck, I’m not sure.  We’ve had plenty of moments racing against each other hard and driving each other hard.  Luckily, it hasn’t been too rough yet on the track.

RT :  (chuckles) That’s fair!  I’d say all’s fair in love and war with some brotherly love on the track.

Author’s Notes :  Special thanks to Austin Dillon and Richard Childress Racing for this wonderful opportunity at New Hampshire!  Furthermore, if you’d like to learn more about Austin and his No. 3 team, “Follow” them on Twitter, “Like” their Facebook page, and “Visit” their official website!

Rob Tiongson

30-something motorsports journalist who enjoys sports like baseball, basketball, football, soccer, track and field, and hockey. A Boston native turned Austinite, racing was the first sport that caught my eye. From interviews to retrospective articles, if it's about anything with an engine and four wheels, it'll be here on TPF, by me or by one of my talented columnists who absolutely have a passion for racing.

Currently seeking a sports writing, public relations, or sports marketing career, particularly in motorsports. I enjoy editing and writing articles and features, as well as photography.

Graduated from Southern New Hampshire University with a Bachelor of Arts in Communication. Proud to be from Massachusetts, just as happy to be a Texan.

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