Richard Childress Racing
February 26, 2012
Dillon begins 2012 Nationwide Series Campaign with Top-Five Finish at Daytona
"I tell you what, it was really fun. It was three wide for a long time. The first 30 laps, I thought they were going to wreck a lot quicker. We got up through there a few times, got to toss it around and ended up fifth so I'm happy."
Start – 5
Finish – 5
Laps Led – 0
Points Position – 3
Austin Dillon and the No. 3 AdvoCare Chevrolet team survived numerous multi-car incidents at Daytona International Speedway to earn a fifth-place finish in the Drive4COPD 300. The Sunoco Rookie of the Year contender started the race in the fifth position and ran anywhere from the second to the 31st positions during the 120-lap race, gaining valuable experience drafting within large packs of cars. During the middle portion of the event, Dillon drove in a two car “tandem draft” to move toward the front of the field, notably pushing RCR teammate Elliott Sadler to the top of the leader board on lap 65 and later pushing Dale Earnhardt, Jr. to the race’s lead on lap 91, a move that sparked a wave of cheers from the estimated 82,000 fans in attendance. Dillon was shuffled out of line and running in the 31st position on lap 104 when several cars were collected in a multi-car incident. The 2011 NASCAR Camping World Truck Series champion masterfully drove around the incident and escaped with just minor damage to the right-front fender of the No. 3 Chevrolet. Crew chief Danny Stockman called Dillon down pit road during the ensuing caution and the RCR team changed tires and repaired the front of the car during a lengthy pit stop. The team managed to stay on the lead lap in the process, which allowed to 21-year-old racer to restart the race in the 24th position with eight laps remaining. Dillon advanced to the 12th position in the closing laps and was charging forward in the running order when another multi-car incident broke out as the field took the checkered flag. Dodging low on the track helped Dillon avoid making contact with the cars spinning in front of him and he was credited with a fifth-place finish. He is now third in the Nationwide Series championship point standings.
AUSTIN DILLON QUOTE:
“I think I learned a ton today. I think it was tough because if you get a run and you use the bottom, you just get sucked to the back. You have to use the middle or upper lane. I learned that. These cars push a lot of air, so I was learning how to draft in a Nationwide Series car. In the NASCAR Camping World Truck Series, the trucks single out, get in a line and get one lane working. I'm used to running third or fourth and working that bottom lane. I had a blast out there. I tell you what, it was really fun. It was three wide for a long time. The first 30 laps, I thought they were going to wreck a lot quicker. We got up through there a few times, got to toss it around and ended up fifth so I'm happy.”