Austin Dillon Riding High Into NASCAR Playoffs
LAS VEGAS, Nev — For Austin Dillon, the Monster Energy NASCAR Cup Series playoffs stand
s as another opportunity to prove himself at the sport’s top level.
It marks the third time in-a-row that the 28-year-old has been one of the drivers chasing a championship in the final ten races, an impressive feat for someone just in his fifth full Cup Series season.
“It shows our consistency,” Dillon told POPULAR SPEED. “That we can win races and that we can also be consistent if we don’t have the speed to win. We’ve done it a couple of different ways now, and we want to continue to build and get better each and every race.”
It could be argued that he has never been more prepared to succeed.
After all, Dillon was the first to qualify for the playoffs, after winning the Daytona 500 to open the season. That means his team at Richard Childress Racing has had since February to allow themselves time to get ready for this chance at a championship.
However, since winning the sport’s biggest race, it had seemed like the No. 3 was falling rather than, improving, only finishing in the top-10 twice in the following 20 events.
Though that doesn’t mean they head into Las Vegas in a bad way, as following his drought without success, Dillon was able to find a big boost in confidence at Michigan in August, where he qualified fifth, ran well all day, and finish fourth.
“I feel really good. I think the time of the year we found speed and it is the right time of year to find it,” Dillon said. “Michigan was a really good run for us, we’ve had some good runs after that, so hopefully the momentum we’ve gained here at the end of the season and put ourselves in a good position in the playoffs.”
What could be a crucial key to his success, is continuing to get stronger, especially in the first round, because if he stays in the hunt come Talladega, we could see more restrictor plate magic from him.
Early success will be critical for Dillon, as he will start the playoffs in 11th with only a two-point margin over the cutoff.
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