Austin Dillon has a Chase berth in sight with three races remaining in the regular season. It’s a testament to the consistency shown by the No. 3 team.
Sitting 11th in points – 13th on the Chase Grid – Dillon has yet to win this season or in his career, which is now in its third full-time year. But his Richard Childress Racing team, led by veteran crew chief Slugger Labbe, continues to show the grit that put winless teammate Ryan Newman in the Championship 4 at Homestead-Miami Speedway in 2014.
And Dillon knows all about competing for a championship without a win.
“I was able to win a championship without winning a race in the Xfinity Series,” Dillon said at Michigan International Speedway about his 2013 accomplishment. “It’s definitely possible, but I would like to go to victory lane.”
Regardless of whether Dillon should pick up a win at Michigan, Darlington Raceway, or Richmond International Raceway on Sept. 10 to end the regular season, he looks poised to make the Chase for the first time. Should he do so, it would guarantee him his highest-finishing points position.
There’s also the possibility Dillon would be the only Richard Childress Racing driver in the Chase. Newman could fall out over the next three weeks as the No. 31 team holds the 16th and final transfer spot at this time, while Paul Menard sits 24th in points.
Dillon has carried the banner for Richard Childress Racing this year. While things have been going well for him, especially since Labbe joined the team last summer, Dillon is far from content. He has two career poles, including one this season, and has scored more top-five (four) and top-10 (10) finishes in 2016 than in his last two years combined, but it’s a win Dillon really wants.
“A trophy would mean a lot to me,” Dillon said. “We’re going to focus hard on victory lane the next three weeks and then 10 after that and let it come to us. We have seen some gains as of late and hopefully we can just continue down that path.
“We do point you death over at RCR for sure it seems like.”
Dillon will start 17th in Sunday’s Pure Michigan 400.