Building off a 2016 season that included two wins in the NASCAR XFINITY Series, Richard Childress Racing’s Austin Dillon will continue to run the No. 2 Rheem Chevrolet in the XFINITY Series in 2017 on a limited basis.
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 with crew chief Justin Alexander.
The third-year Cup standout was also successful in NASCAR’s premier series in 2016, earning his first career Chase berth. The driver of the No. 3 Chevrolet made it to the Round of 12 and, ultimately, a 14th-place finish in the final point standings.
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 Cup 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 Sprint Cup 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 Cup 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 Cup Series competition in 2014, reviving the number, which had been inactive in Cup 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 Sprint Cup 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 Cup 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 the strength of three victories and three pole awards as a crew chief in the NASCAR XFINITY Series, Justin Alexander will remain in his role for the No. 2 Rheem/Menards team for the 2017 season.
After serving as the crew chief of the No. 27 NASCAR premiere series team at Richard Childress Racing, Alexander assumed the role of crew chief of the No. 2 Chevrolet in July and called the shots for the final 14 races of the season. The sophomore crew chief worked with numerous drivers on the No. 2 Chevrolet team throughout the 2016 season, including Austin Dillon, Paul Menard, Ben Kennedy, Sam Hornish Jr. and Michael McDowell. Alexander made his first trip to Victory Lane, just one week after assuming his role as crew chief of the No. 2 team at Bristol Motor Speedway in August and again the following week at Road America. In total, Alexander captured seven top-five and nine top-10 finishes.
Alexander, 34, earned his Bachelor of Science degree in Mechanical Engineering at North Carolina State University where he struck up a friendship with Luke Lambert, crew chief for Ryan Newman and the No. 31 Chevrolet team. The two met while participating in the Formula SAE program and became roommates during and after college.
The Charlotte, North Carolina, native started his NASCAR career at Hendrick Motorsports as a shock specialist for the No. 24 and No. 48 teams in 2003. Two years later, he became lead engineer on the No. 48 team and moved to a R&D engineer in 2006. In 2009, he was named lead engineer for the No. 24 team. During his tenure, Alexander was part of five NASCAR premiere series championships.
Following his aspirations of becoming a crew chief, Alexander joined RCR and the No. 27 team in January 2014 as the lead engineer. Throughout 36 races of the 2014 season, Alexander contributed to the team’s career-best of five top-five and 13 top-10 finishes.
The 2015 premiere series season marked Alexander’s first as a full-time crew chief in NASCAR’s top-tier series. Alexander led the No. 27 team to its first bid in the Chase for the premiere series championship, ultimately finishing 14th in the championship driver point standings. With Alexander’s guidance on the pit box, Menard collected two top-five, five top-10 and 20 top-15 finishes. Alexander received four of the prestigious MOOG Problem Solver of the Race awards throughout the season. This award is presented to the crew chief that makes the biggest gain in lap average speed in the second half of each race.