News Column

Austin Dillon Making Case for a Sprint Cup Spot

July 20, 2012

Carlos Mendez

NASCAR Sprint Cup

Ricky Stenhouse Jr. already has his Sprint Cup ride set up for next year. He'll be in the No. 6 Toyota for Roush Fenway.

Austin Dillon doesn't have anything set up. At least nothing that has been announced.

But he can't be far behind.

Especially if he winds up winning another championship.

Last year, he won the NASCAR Camping World Truck Series championship. This year, he's second in the Nationwide Series, three points off the lead.

Dillon, like Stenhouse, is a 20-something-year-old who looks like a big part of the future of Sprint Cup racing.

"I think we're sitting in a great spot right now," Dillon said in a conference call with reporters this week. "As a rookie team, we have accomplished so much this year. Anything from this point on is just going to be a bonus.

"But we don't look at it that way. We look at it as, we want to win a championship. We don't take just top-10s. That's getting by for us. We want to run up front each and every week. We want to be in the top three, and we want to compete with the Cup guys who come in."

Dillon, the grandson of team owner Richard Childress, is going to compete with Cup guys down the line.

But for now, to win the Nationwide title, he has to compete with his Richard Childress Racing stablemate, Elliott Sadler.

Sadler is a veteran of many Sprint Cup and Nationwide races. He has 430 Cup starts and 181 Nationwide starts behind him. He's in the middle of what could be his best year, at any level.

So Dillon wants to race him.

He's got to master how to beat a veteran.

"Well, you know, we are a team here at RCR, and we have been working together, sharing information, just like we have from the start," Dillon said. "You know, some weeks Elliot is faster than I am, and we might use his setups. And some weeks, he might use our setups.

"But we are very close, each and every week, setup-wise. That's the best thing about RCR right now and our Nationwide program. We are helping each other. There's not a big ego over there trying to re-create something. Everybody is working together for one common goal. I think it will stay that way. And it should."

Massey leads

Fort Worth's Spencer Massey is in the points lead in NHRA Top Fuel drag racing after his fourth win this season. He heads to Bandimeer Speedway in Morrison, Colo., as the defending champion.

"It'll be tough racing in the altitude, but it's when the crew chiefs shine and hopefully, mine can do it again this year," Massey said. "Plus, it's an awesome track, and I love the town. The racing views are beautiful. I can't wait to get there."



Source: (c)2012 the Fort Worth Star-Telegram. Distributed by MCT Information Services


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