NASCAR Cup Series

Rough Atlanta Preps Austin Dillon for Vegas

Austin Dillon’s weekend at the Atlanta Motor Speedway was going well through Friday and Saturday as he showed speed, ranking in the top five in both practice sessions and qualified 10th for Sunday’s Folds of Honor QuikTrip 500.

When the green flag dropped on Sunday, his weekend hit a bump and went downhill. Dillon started to fall back as his car wasn’t living up to what we saw in practice. During the gloomy cold cloudy days which were on Friday and Saturday his car seemed the best; however, when the sun was out on Sunday, his machine couldn’t handle the warmest day of the weekend.

What could have gone wrong to the No. 3 Dow Chevy Camaro? The team missed the set-up due to feeling confidence with the handling after practice, and not realizing the race wouldn’t be under cloudy skies.

Dillon and the other drivers still need to get used to the new rules package, so it’s easy to understand how they could’ve been a little off in the direction they went. Midway through the first stage, Dillon referenced the team going the wrong way with their choices.

“It was definitely a learning experience for our Dow Racing team today at Atlanta Motor Speedway,” Dillon said. “We missed on the setup a little at the beginning of the race and that made our bed for the rest of the race. This team has a lot of determination, though, and we never gave up.”

With Dillon never giving up during the run, he still battled to make gains and get better. Even if he wasn’t contending for the win, Dillon was getting used to the handling of the rules package which he’s going to need for future races.

“My crew chief, Danny Stockman, and the team made major adjustments throughout the race to try and get the handling better,” Dillon said. “By the end of the race, we were running the No. 42 car down, who had led a lot of the race, and that’s a testament to how hard this team works and all of the changes we made during the race.”

The new rules package will be in full affect during the upcoming weekend at the Las Vegas Motor Speedway.

“We’re building a notebook for this new package, and I have confidence that our team will be in the fight next week at Las Vegas Motor Speedway,” Dillon said.

Dillon and his team are looking for better in race improvement. If they can add to that while practicing and qualifying well, look for Dillon to start making noise during the season. The season is still young, and there is still a lot to learn and look forward for the No. 3 team.


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By Bryan Rivero

Bryan Rivero is a senior at Florida International University school of Communications and Journalism with a focus in Broadcast Media. He currently resides in Miami, FL where he has lived his whole life. In addition to POPULAR SPEED, Rivero is a marketing intern for the Florida Panther’s Hockey Club.