2016 Season in Review: Austin Dillon

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Austin Dillon

CREW CHIEF: Richard “Slugger” Labbe

TEAM: Richard Childress Racing

POINTS: 14th

WINS: 0

LAPS LED: 17 (lowest since he led just 10 laps in 2014)

TOP 5s: 4 (career-best)

TOP 10s: 13 (career-best)

POLES: 2 (Fontana, Texas II)

WHAT WENT RIGHT: In his third full-time season in the Sprint Cup Series, 2016 was a breakthrough season for Dillon, grandson of team owner Richard Childress. While he’s still seeking his first Cup-level win, he had highs in top-fives (four) and top-10s (13), poles (2), average start (14.0) and average finish (15.9), lead lap finishes (26) and made the Chase for the Sprint Cup for the first time (although he was eliminated after the second round on a tiebreaker with Denny Hamlin after Talladega). … Also earned two wins, 11 top-fives, 16 top-10s and one pole in 19 Xfinity Series starts.

WHAT WENT WRONG: While he definitely showed significant improvement as a driver, Dillon had a problem getting to the front of the field, leading just 17 laps, less than half of the number of laps he led in 2015 (39). … He had three DNFs for the second season in a row after none in his rookie season in 2014.

WHAT TO EXPECT IN 2017: While 2016 was a breakthrough season for Dillon, 2017 very well could be a breakout season. He’s ready to win a race – and RCR certainly needs a win, not having visited victory lane since 2013 with Kevin Harvick. Look for Dillon not only to win a race or more, he’ll also make the Chase for the second straight year and has the potential to advance at least to the second or third rounds — if not all the way to the final round — of the playoff eliminations.

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