Dismayed by a 26th-place result and finishing five laps behind the leaders, Daytona 500 winner Austin Dillon vowed on a Periscope message to fans Sunday that “we’re going to flip this around.’’
But Dillon acknowledged that he and all of Richard Childress Racing have much to do to learn how to make the new Chevrolet Camaro ZL1 more competitive.
“Here’s the deal, today sucked,’’ Dillon said on his Periscope video. “For everybody at RCR, the silver lining is it’s one race. We’ve got to go work on our cars to get them better. We’ve got to work on the Camaro ZL1. The Fords are absolutely kicking our tails.
“I’m committed to going to work, and everybody at RCR is committed to going to work. We’re going to flip this around. Positive thing is we won the Daytona 500, we got a win in our back pocket, but we’ve got to go to work. Can’t run like this.
“All the fans, Austin Dillon fans, RCR fans, know that we are working hard, we have been working hard, we’ve just got to change directions. We’ll keep putting in the effort. The team is doing everything they can and we’ve just got to think harder and smarter.’’
Dillon remains the only Chevrolet driver to have won this season, making him the only Chevy driver qualified for the playoffs at this point.
It’s not just Dillon and the rest of RCR who have struggled in the Chevy camp.
Chevy has failed to lead at least a lap in three races this season — the first time that has happened to the manufacturer since 1982. Sunday, Chevrolet led 26 of 400 laps (all by Hendrick Motorsports’ Alex Bowman). That marks the eighth time in the first 11 races this season that Chevrolet has led 30 or less laps in a race.
Kevin Harvick has led a series-high 741 laps. Chevrolet drivers have combined to lead 408 laps.
Harvick was dominant Sunday, leading 201 of 400 laps.
“Yeah, the 4 car was unreal,’’ Dillon said on Periscope. “He comes by you at a whole other level of speed. It’s unreal what he can do through the corner. He’s carrying a whole couple of mile an hour more than us through the center (of the corner). Pretty impressive. Pretty impressive what he’s doing.’’
Fords have won six of the first 11 races.
“Why are the Fords so dominant? I think in the offseason when we put the ZL1 body on, they were able to kind of tune on their race car while we were building race cars and putting bodies on, so we’re still just trying to figure it out.’’
Dillon knows his team and all of RCR can be better.
“We will get it going,’’ Dillon said. “I have all the faith in Chevy and RCR. Truthfully, Chevy has given us what we need. We just need to figure out how to use it. Figure out how to use it to our best advantage and get it back in the winner’s circle.
“We’re definitely still learning about the Camaro. We haven’t figured out our aero balance yet. Just at a (tire) test at Michigan a couple of weeks ago, we were moving things around trying to figure out the aero balance. We’d pick up speed and not understand why. I think that’s a big part, we just don’t know the proper way to use the car yet.’’