By Ben White
Austin Dillon, the grandson of six-time Sprint Cup Series championship team owner and former driver Richard Childress, is building his own driving career in NASCAR’s premier division as well as in a majority of the NASCAR XFINITY Series races.
The Lewisville, N.C. native began his driving career in Bandaleros and Legends cars in 2005 before advancing to dirt Late Models in 2006. He won three major Dirt Late Model events the following season and was also successful in asphalt Late Model cars.
According to the team website, Dillon made his XFINITY Series debut at Richmond International Raceway in September of 2008 and also earned Rookie of the Year honors and finished second in the 2008 NASCAR K&N Pro Series East point standings. He was named an RCR development driver in 2009, giving strong limited schedule performances in the Xfinity, Camping World Truck and ARCA Series and also won his second All-Star Shootout at The Dirt Track at Charlotte Motor Speedway.
Dillon earned Rookie of the Year honors in CWTS competition in 2010, and finished fifth in the driver’s point standings and was crowned its youngest champion in 2011. After one Xfinity Series start that year, he made his Sprint Cup Series debut at Kansas Speedway in October 2011. He finished third in the XFINITY Series championship point standings in his first year of full-time competition in 2012 and was named rookie of the year with two race wins that year.
Then in 2013, he collected the XFINITY Series championship, marking his second NASCAR title in four years. He was also the first winner on dirt in one of NASCAR’s top national series for the first time since 1970 with a NASCAR Camping World Truck Series victory at Eldora (Ohio) Speedway.
Dillon joined the Sprint Cup Series in 2014, winning the pole at the season-opening Daytona 500 in February and finished 20th in the point standings. He is currently competing fulltime in the Cup series and campaigns the No. 3 the late Dale Earnhardt made famous with the Welcome, N.C.-based organization.
“I’m so thankful for our sport,” Dillon said. “We have such a wide variety of different types of drivers in diverse places that we get to go to every weekend. The fan support is awesome and that are truly the best fans because of their loyalty. It’s a fun sport because of that and makes racing in NASCAR a blast.”