For the first time in his career, Austin Dillon has qualified for the 16-driver Chase for the NASCAR Sprint Cup. The driver of the No. 3 Richard Childress Racing Chevrolet is in his third full Sprint Cup season and will now compete for his first series title.
Working with crew chief Richard “Slugger” Labbe, Dillon earned his Chase berth by recording four top-five, 10 top-10 finishes and one pole.
In his first two seasons in the Sprint Cup Series, Dillon finished 20th and 21st, respectively, in the series standings. Poised to earn his career-best finish in the series standings, Dillon has his eyes set on the ultimate prize, his first NASCAR Sprint Cup Series championship.
“I’m just proud of our effort, our team, everything we went through this year,” Dillon said post race. ” We shouldn’t have been in this situation. We had good enough cars to not have to be in this situation, but, hey, we were in a tight situation down to the end.”
If Dillon is able to earn his first Sprint Cup title, he would become the first driver in NASCAR history to win a championship in the all three national touring series. The third generation driver won the 2011 Camping World Truck Series championship and the 2013 XFINITY Series championship.
“I’m proud to be here. I’m just excited. The stress level is off of me. I’m not going to take stress into the Chase. I’m going to go have fun and try to win, look at it with no pressure situation.”
The first round of the 2016 Chase for the Sprint Cup kicks off next weekend at Chicagoland Speedway, before heading to New Hampshire Motor Speedway and Dover International Speedway, where four drivers will be eliminated from title contention. The second round of the Chase includes Charlotte Motor Speedway, Kansas Speedway and Talladega Superspeedway, where another four drivers will be eliminated. The third round consists of Martinsville Speedway, Texas Motor Speedway and Phoenix International Raceway, where four more drivers will be eliminated.
The Sprint Cup Series championship will be determined among the four remaining drivers in a winner-takes-all race at Homestead-Miami Speedway. The highest finishing driver and team of the four title contenders will lift the championship trophy at the end of the night