Building off a 2016 season that included his career-first Chase berth, highest NASCAR premiere series points finish, and two wins in the NASCAR XFINITY Series, Richard Childress Racing’s Austin Dillon will continue to run double duty in 2017 driving the historic No. 3 Dow/American Ethanol/AAA Chevrolet in the NASCAR premiere series and the No. 2 Rheem Chevrolet in the XFINITY Series.
In his third year driving the No. 3 Chevrolet, Dillon’s premiere series season was highlighted by his first Chase berth,which took him as far as The Round of 12 and, ultimately, a 14th-place finish in the final point standings. He earned pole awards at Auto Club Speedway in Fontana, California, and Texas Motor Speedway, a career-high four top-five finishes and 13 top-10 finishes with 17 laps led.
While competing in a majority of the XFINITY Series races in 2016, Dillon earned wins at Auto Club Speedway in March and Bristol Motor Speedway in August.
Dillon began his racing career in INEX Bandaleros and Legend Cars in 2005 before advancing to dirt Late Models in 2006. He won three major Dirt Late Model events in 2007, including the May All-Star Showdown at The Dirt Track at Charlotte Motor Speedway before competing in asphalt Late Model cars. He still considers dirt track racing among his favorite hobbies, and competes frequently for his family-owned Team Dillon Racing.
Dillon made his XFINITY Series debut at Richmond International Raceway on September 7, 2008, and followed that up with a fourth-place finish at Memphis Motorsports Park on October 25, 2008. He earned Rookie of the Year honors and finished second in the 2008 NASCAR K&N Pro Series East final point standings.
He drove in five different stock car series as an RCR development driver in 2009, including the XFINITY Series, NASCAR Camping World Truck Series, NASCAR K&N Pro Series East and West and the ARCA Racing Series presented by Menards, where he scored two runner-up finishes. He also won his second All-Star Showdown at The Dirt Track at Charlotte Motor Speedway in May 2009.
In his rookie season of Camping World Truck Series competition in 2010, Dillon earned Rookie of the Year honors and finished fifth in the driver’s point standings, becoming only the second rookie to do so in nine seasons. After finishing outside the top 10 in five of his first seven Camping World Truck Series races, Dillon rebounded to end the season with 16 top-10 finishes and earned race wins at Iowa Speedway and Las Vegas Motor Speedway. Dillon competed in one XFINITY Series race in 2010, driving the No. 21 Bass Pro Shops Chevrolet at New Hampshire Motor Speedway.
Dillon made his premiere series debut at Kansas Speedway in October 2011 driving an entry prepared by RCR and owned by Curb-Agajanian Racing.
He drove the No. 33 Rheem/Menards Chevrolet for Kevin Harvick, Inc. in four XFINITY Series races in 2011, earning one top-five and three top-10 finishes.
In 2011, Dillon earned the Camping World Truck Series driver’s championship in RCR’s No. 3 Chevrolet. He secured Camping World Truck Series race victories at Nashville Superspeedway and Chicagoland Speedway, 10 top-five and 16 top-10 finishes and led the series in pole awards with five. He was voted the Camping World Truck Series Most Popular Driver by fans in 2011.
The Welcome, North Carolina, driver finished third in the driver point standings during his first year of full-time XFINITY Series competition in 2012 and earned Sunoco Rookie of the Year Honors. He also made one premiere series start, finishing 24th at Michigan International Speedway in June.
Dillon earned the XFINITY Series driver championship in 2013, garnering back-to-back wins at Kentucky Speedway in 2013 and accruing 10 pole awards, including the record for most consecutive poles in the series history with seven.
He made 11 starts in the premiere series in 2013, which was highlighted by an impressive third-place run in the second Duel at Daytona race and an eighth-place starting position in his first Daytona 500 start.
Also in 2013, he won the inaugural Camping World Truck Series Mudsummer Classic at Eldora Speedway, marking the first NASCAR national series win on dirt since 1970.
Dillon brought back the legendary No. 3 to premiere series competition in 2014, reviving the number, which had been inactive in the premiere series since Dale Earnhardt’s fatal accident in the 2001 Daytona 500. His season was highlighted by a pole for the season-opening Daytona 500, marking his career-first premiere series pole, and a fifth-place finish at Daytona International Speedway in July. Dillon finished 20th in the final point standings and was one of just two drivers to finish every race.
He also competed in eight Camping World Truck Series races in 2014, winning at Pocono Raceway.
Dillon’s sophomore premiere series season in 2015 was highlighted by a fourth-place finish at Michigan International Speedway in August among five top-10 finishes and 39 laps led. In a season that included a crew chief change 17 races into the books, Dillon managed to finish the final 19 races with six top-10 starts and four top-10 finishes, earning a 21st-place showing in the final point standings.
While competing in a majority of the XFINITY Series races in 2015, Dillon earned four wins at Las Vegas Motor Speedway in March, Charlotte Motor Speedway in May, Daytona International Speedway in July and Charlotte Motor Speedway in October.
Also in 2015, Dillon won the 500th Camping World Truck Series race driving under the GMS Racing banner.
Before he began his racing career, Dillon played stick-and-ball sports and appeared in the 2002 Little League World Series.
Coming off a successful 2016 campaign, Richard “Slugger” Labbe returns to the helm as crew chief for the No. 3 Dow/American Ethanol/AAA team and driver Austin Dillon for the 2017 NASCAR premiere series season.
In their first full season working together, Labbe led Dillon to a career-high four top-fives, 13 top-10s two poles and a spot in the 16-driver Chase for the premiere series championship, ultimately ending the season 14th in the driver point standings. Labbe also led Dillon to a career-best finish of third at Talladega Superspeedway in May.
Labbe’s racing interest began at a young age in his native Maine when he helped his father, Ray, work on cars in the NASCAR K&N Pro Series East. He first worked as a crew member on a Late Model stock car team in 1984 for Kelly Moore and moved to the to the NASCAR XFINITY Series two years later with Moore. In 1989, Labbe moved to Hickory, North Carolina, to work as a mechanic with Tommy Houston in the NASCAR K&N Pro Series East, finishing second in the point standings that season.
In 1991, Labbe went to work for Terry Labonte winning five races in three XFINITY Series seasons. He remained with Labonte when he moved to Hendrick Motorsports in 1994, assuming the role of front-tire changer and mechanic on his premiere series car. In his second year, Labbe was promoted to car chief and helped lead the team to the pit crew championship and the premiere series championship in 1996.
Labbe joined Robert Yates Racing in 1998 and was quickly promoted to his first crew chief position working with Kenny Irwin Jr. He led the team for 29 events and Irwin to Rookie of the Year honors. Labbe remained at RYR through 2000 before joining Dale Earnhardt Inc. in 2001 where he captured three premiere series victories. His first victory as a crew chief came at Daytona International Speedway in July 2002, and was followed by a win in the 2003 Daytona 500.
In 2005, Labbe moved to Evernham Motorsports to serve as crew chief for Jeremy Mayfield. The pair delivered one win at Michigan International Speedway, four top-five and nine top-10 finishes and captured a spot in the 2005 Chase for the NASCAR premiere series title. Labbe joined Bill Davis Racing in 2007. He began the 2008 season working with Formula One Champion Jacques Villeneuve guiding him through the transition from open wheel to NASCAR before sponsorship fell through. He then transitioned to a coaching role with NASCAR newcomer Scott Speed in the ARCA Racing Series presented by Menards, the NASCAR Camping World Truck Series and the premiere series. He led Speed to his first career NASCAR victory in the Camping World Truck Series at Dover International Speedway and his first pole at Bristol Motor Speedway that year. When TRG Motorsports made its entry into premiere series competition, Labbe was pegged to guide David Gilliland in 2009.
In 2010, Labbe joined forces with premiere series driver Paul Menard, directing the Eau Claire, Wisconsin, native to one top-five and six top-10 finishes en route to a 23rd-place finish in the driver championship point standings.
The pair joined Richard Childress Racing in 2011, where Labbe continued to serve as Menard’s crew chief. Labbe won the 2011 Brickyard 400 at Indianapolis Motor Speedway with Menard and led the driver to his then career-best finish of 17th in the driver championship point standings in the 2011 premiere series campaign on the strength of one victory, four top-five and eight top-10 finishes. They followed up with one top-five and nine top-10 finishes and a career-best 16th-place result in the 2012 standings. The following season was another solid performance for the duo as Labbe led Menard to a 17th-place finish in the driver point standings on the strength of three top-five and nine top-10 finishes.
In 2014, Labbe led the No. 27 team through one of their most competitive seasons yet with five top-five and 13 top-10 finishes which is a career best for Menard.
Labbe served a leading role in research and development at RCR where he worked in the premiere series with Ty Dillon (three races) and Brian Scott (three races) before joining the No. 3 team with 19 races remaining in the 2015 season. Once joining the No. 3 team, he guided Dillon to his best career-finish of fourth-place at Michigan International Speedway in August among six top-10 starts and four top-10 finishes.