The future of Richard Childress Racing lies in the hands of Austin Dillon. Albeit an official announcement has yet to be made, it’s widely believed the second generation driver and grandson of team owner Richard Childress will succeed Kevin Harvick as driver of car #29.
In a short period of time Dillon has established himself as a fierce competitor in both the NASCAR Camping World Truck series as well the NASCAR Nationwide series. Dillon’s case is a curious one indeed, in large part due to impending expectations waiting for this young man next season. Not only is he receiving an opportunity of a lifetime to drive for his grandfather, he’s likely to be carrying the number(#3) of NASCAR’s most celebrated driver of all time.
How Austin Dillon manages his rookie season at the cup level widely hinges on his ability to compete at a high level against the industry’s best drivers. Never one to back down from a challenge success has come naturally to Dillon early on in his NASCAR career. Dillon captured his first NASCAR championship in the CWTS two years ago, and currently leads the point standings in NNS competition. There’s no doubt Dillon has all the capabilities of a champion, however NSCS racing is a whole other story. Austin Dillon can expect the learning curve to be steep at the NSCS level. In 12 career starts Dillon’s best cup finish is 11th at Michigan in June of this year. Last Sunday’s NSCS race at Talladega gave the Austin Dillon camp a glimmer of hope for the future. Dillon subbing for Tony Stewart showed incredible poise towards the end of the race as he ran up front with the leaders, clearly headed for a career best finish at the cup level, only to get caught up in a late wreck that ultimately decided the race.
If veteran crew chief Gil Martin remains with the team there’s no telling how far his racing expertise can propel young Austin’s career in Sprint cup. RCR’s newest resident veteran Ryan Newman may also play an integral part in shaping Austin Dillon’s career. Richard Childress couldn’t have chosen a better driver to welcome into the organization than Newman. Newman is a consummate professional and excellent wheel man. Austin can learn a tremendous amount about improving qualifying efforts for the entire organization from one of the sports best qualifiers. Overall RCR has only one pole position since 2007. As the organization shifts it’s landscape creating a new identity in the process is paramount. And who better to be on board for these changes than Richard’s eldest grandson Austin Dillon, who’s likely to become the face of the organization.
Lastly Austin Dillon must contend with his freakishly talented 2014 ROTY classmate Kyle Larson if he plan’s on adding 2014 NSCS Rookie of the year honors to his already dazzling resume.
Richard Childress’s hiring of his grandson Austin Dillon is sure to cause a few eyes to roll and heads to turn. Don’t forget last time Childress hired a young unpolished driver to replace a legend he struck gold with Kevin Harvick. Now it’s Austin Dillon’s moment in the spotlight to succeeded RCR’s second best driver of all time.
Final grade B-