The powers that be at NASCAR must surely be smiling today. You long time NASCAR fans know that Austin Dillon couldn’t have pick a better occasion to pick up his second career Cup win by taking the checkered flag at the 60th running of the Daytona 500.
If you follow the sport with any degree of seriousness, you know that Austin Dillon is the grandson of this team owner, Richard Childress. He’s the father of Austin’s mother Tina. Back in the day, Childress had none other than Dale Earnhardt racing in the three car. If you go back 20 years to February 18, 1998, The Intimidator won his only Daytona 500 after 20 tries. A 7-year Dillon apparently got in some trouble for climbing all over Earnhardt’s trophy, we’re told.
Fast forward three years, and it was another historic day for the three team at RCR. Earnhardt tragically lost his life on the final lap during the 2001 running of the Great American Race. The day shook the NASCAR world and Childress to the core. The owner who had such a similar background as Earnhardt and one of his closest friends considered shutting it all down. As we all know by now, the three was re-numbered as the 29, and Kevin Harvick was tabbed to succeed the seven-time champion, and wrote plenty of history of his own in the employ of RCR.
When Austin Dillon happened upon the Cup scene, the decision was made to bring back the number three. It bears noting that before Earnhardt raced with that number, Richard Childress drove with that number, made popular by NASCAR pioneer Junior Johnson. Interestingly enough, it was Johnson that brought Childress and Earnhardt together.
Now here we are years later, Austin Dillon has carved his niche in NASCAR history. He was smart enough to pay homage to Earnhardt and his legion of fans still following the sport today. If Earnhardt is somehow watching down on affairs here on earth, you have to imagine he was wearing that lopsided grin, and hoisting his arms in celebration of the racer who was once an ankle biter in the RCR shop.
You can’t make this stuff up. No one would ever buy it otherwise. What a day for NASCAR, what a day for Richard Childress and what a day for Austin Dillon.
The post Austin Dillon Adds A New Chapter To An Already Historic Day appeared first on NASCAR.
Dukes of Hazard pic.twitter.com/tWpGL7Bd1d
Those Tires pic.twitter.com/rss7XCZkOM
Throwback Equus Bass 770 pic.twitter.com/yRhuYE4q7z
Matte Black Widebody pic.twitter.com/I2dkMLgg6U
In what could be a sign of things to come, a pair of twenty-somethings rule the day at the Can-Am Duels. Ryan Blaney overtook teammate Joey Logano to capture the first of Thursday’s duels. After focusing on building a car to win a pole in the past, the 9 team put together a race winning car, and win Chase Elliott did in the second of the Duels.
Also making headlines was rookie Darrell Wallace Jr., who made a nice showing in the first race. While he seems like an old man by comparison, Joey Logano was up front much of the day during his run.
Suddenly, Kevin Harvick, Jimmie Johnson, Kurt Busch, Clint Bowyer and Denny Hamlin have become the old men of NASCAR. Who thought we’d ever see that day? Even Kyle Busch has become something of a grizzled veteran. Times have changed.
Don’t get me wrong, this is good for the sport. It’s interesting that both Blaney and Elliott are second generation NASCAR drivers. In Elliott’s case, he’s now displaying the number 9 on his car- the number his dad Bill used during his glory days, he seems to have inherited a certain amount of the 16-time Most Popular Driver’s fan base. In Blaney’s case, you have to think he’ll pick up fans who gravitate to the “racer’s racer” types as his dad Dave made his biggest headlines in the World of Outlaws.
Thursday’s Duels have set the stage for what should be a compelling Daytona 500 Sunday. If no other reason than the new faces, it’s a new look NASCAR. I’ll leave it to you to determine whether that’s good or bad.
It looks good from here. Kyle Larson is another one of those “racer’s racer” types, William Byron has shown tremendous promise. Then we haven’t even gotten into the Dillon brothers, Alex Bowman and Daniel Suarez. Not only are the faces fresh, it’s most certainly a good thing to see a more diverse NASCAR.
If the Duels showed us anything Sunday’s 500 will not be the same old, same old. It’s a new and hopefully better day in NASCAR.
Would you save or pass on this one?! pic.twitter.com/tKZb2vmsiD