Dillon ready to snap RCR winless streak
CHARLOTTE, N.C. -- After inconsistency plagued his first two full seasons in what is now known as the Monster Energy NASCAR Cup Series, Austin Dillon proved he was up to the challenge in 2016, earning a berth in NASCAR's postseason for the first time.
The 26-year-old grandson of team owner Richard Childress piloted the No. 3 Chevrolet to a career-high 13 top 10s, four top fives, and earned two poles on his way to 14th in the final points standings. But he was again shut out of victory lane, continuing an unwanted trend for Richard Childress Racing, which last won in NASCAR's top series in 2013 with Kevin Harvick.
Dillon is hopeful that seeing Childress inducted into the Hall of Fame will give the entire organization a boost this season.
"Yeah, it sucks," said Dillon when asked about the team's victory drought last week. "No one likes to go winless, so we want to wipe that out as soon as possible. I think what was good for our entire company was going to the Hall of Fame induction with my grandfather. It lights a fire in all our employees, myself included, and any kind of effort we can do and not let any stone go unturned to find any bit of speed, we're gonna do it."
Dillon, who won championships in the Xfinity and Camping World Truck Series while climbing the NASCAR ladder, acknowledged that the team won't be able to count on consistency alone to challenge for a title in NASCAR's new championship system that rewards
"Speed is going to be something that we've got to rely on more. We were kind of a points-chasing organization the last couple of years," said Dillon. "
"We can be aggressive this year and do what it takes to keep ourselves at the front of the pack."
Dillon said his offseason was spent in the outdoors hunting and fishing, which allowed him to hit the "reset" button before another long NASCAR season. His team, however, was ready to get back to work after finding some improvement down the home stretch.
"My entire team was like, 'I wish we could start over right now with everything we know,'" said Dillon, who earned the pole at Texas Motor Speedway last fall. "We ended 2016 with speed and we wanted to go into 2017 with speed. We wanted to go the next day. I'm refreshed and ready to go."