Since the moment Austin Dillon made his NASCAR Camping World Truck Series debut back in 2009, there was no question that he had the talent. There also wasn’t any doubt that he had the equipment and the people around him in order to have a successful career in the world of NASCAR. With trucks owned by his grandfather, Richard Childress, and having one of the most respected figures in the NASCAR garage area being his father, Mike Dillon, the young 21-year-old has everything on his side.
After starting off his 2011 campaign to be champion in the Truck Series with mixed results, Dillon and his No. 3 Richard Childress Racing crew have made a transformation in which they went from being weekly contenders for victories to a threat to win the championship. During this time, the maturity and overall way Dillon approaches situations on the track have undergone a change in which is almost unrecognizable from the hot-shot rookie that came on the tour just last season.
Take this past weekend at Martinsville Speedway for example.
During the opening practice session on Friday which was delayed by a rain shower, Dillon opted not to run for the first part of the practice session, allowing his fellow competitors to ‘rubber in’ the paper clip before he took his truck out there. Knowing that the possibility of wadding up his truck was imminent if he was to go out in such conditions, Dillon waited patiently, made sure everything was in order and then made his venture out onto the track for practice.
After racing like a true veteran in Saturday’s slug-fest known as the Kroger 200 at Martinsville, Dillon did what any veteran of racing would do. Get the most out of the car/truck possible while keeping it in one piece for contention at the end of the day.
By finishing in the third position, Dillon increased his minuscule three point advantage to eleven points by days end. Not to mention, a 15 point gap back to the third and fourth place trucks of Ron Hornaday Jr. and Johnny Sauter.
Heading into the final two races of the season, all signs indicate that this year’s championship is Dillon’s to lose.
With the fast 1.5 mile speedways being the ‘bread and butter’ of Dillon’s success in the series, the next two races at Texas Motor Speedway and Homestead-Miami Speedway puts the young driver in prime position.
In the June race at the Texas Motor Speedway, Dillon had a truck that was more than capable to win. Able to lead laps and run up front for a good majority of the night. Although the team suffered problems late in the race, they still have every reason to be confident given Dillon’s track record on 1.5 mile venues.
Coming into this weekend’s ‘statement’ race at Texas, Dillon and crew are looking to put the competition in the dust, and ride of into the night in Homestead with the championship in hand.