Austin Dillon started 2018 in the biggest way possible – by winning the Daytona 500 and the historic Harley J. Earl trophy.
As driver of the famed No. 3 heads into 2019, he is turning his attention to another iconic piece of NASCAR history: the famed grandfather clock trophy at Martinsville Speedway.
“That’s our main goal,” Dillon said. “It’s one of my favorite trophies of the year. I got to look at it a lot, because my grandfather (car owner Richard Childress) has one in his house, so I’ve got to step up and get one.”
The 28-year-old from nearby Welcome, N.C. said he loves racing on the “Half-Mile of Mayhem,” a track he grew up coming to as a kid.
“It’s short-track racing.” he said. “You’re going to see guys pushing and shoving. It’s aggressiveness. It’s an awesome track to see a race from. You can see the whole track and that’s what’s cool about it.”
While his 2018 results, a pair of 30th place finishes, don’t show it, Dillon feels like strong runs in the past are a good indicator of future success at the historic Speedway.
“We’ve finished in the top-5 there a couple of times now,” Dillon said. “I love going to Martinsville. We had a good run going there last year and I blew a right front tire. I can’t wait to get there and hopefully make it a place we win at.”
With the departure of Ryan Newman and arrival of Sunoco Rookie of the Year contender Daniel Hemric, Dillon, who enters in his sixth full-time season in the Monster Energy NASCAR Cup Series, will become the elder statesman for Richard Childress Racing, a role he is looking forward to.
“I think it’s a great thing for me,” he said. “I love the leadership role and hopefully Daniel and I can make some noise together as teammates. If I’m that guy, I’m fine with it. I love that pressure to keep RCR (Richard Childress Racing) running strong.”
Dillon and the rest of the Monster Energy NASCAR Cup Series will return to Martinsville Speedway March 22-24 for the STP 500 weekend.
The weekend starts of Friday, with practice for the NASCAR Gander Outdoors Truck Series and continues on Saturday with the 250 lap Truck Series race and practice and qualifying for the STP 500.
The STP 500 is Sunday, March 24.
The STP 500 is the first race short-track race of the season and is the first race back on the East Coast after the series’ “West Coast Swing.”
Tickets start at $46 and youth 17-and-under are $25 regardless of location.
Tickets are on sale now. To purchase tickets call 877.RACE.TIX or visit www.martinsvillespeedway.com.