This Week’s Bass Pro Shops/TRACKER Off Road Chevrolet Camaro ZL1 at Charlotte Motor Speedway … Austin Dillon earned his career-first win in the NASCAR Cup Series with a victory in the Coca-Cola 600 in May 2017. A native of North Carolina, Dillon has competed in 13 NASCAR Cup Series races at his hometown track, earning four top-10 finishes, including a sixth-place result last year. He is a two-time winner at the track in the NASCAR Xfinity Series. Dillon grew up watching races at Charlotte Motor Speedway from his grandfather’s condo, which overlooks the racetrack.
Tracker Off Road ... Dillon’s No. 3 Chevrolet Camaro ZL1 prominently features TRACKER ATVs, a game-changing new line of all-terrain vehicles and side-by-sides offering breakthrough performance, service and value in the off-road industry. TRACKER OFF ROAD was born out of a powerhouse partnership formed between Bass Pro Shops and TRACKER founder Johnny Morris and Textron Specialized Vehicles, bringing together the undisputed world leader in boating with a global leader in innovation and technology.
Bass Pro Shops ... Bass Pro Shops is North America's premier outdoor and conservation company. Founded in 1972 when avid young angler Johnny Morris began selling tackle out of his father's liquor store in Springfield, Missouri, today the company provides customers with unmatched offerings spanning premier destination retail, outdoor equipment manufacturing, world-class resort destinations and more. In 2017 Bass Pro Shops acquired Cabela's to create a "best-of-the-best" experience with superior products, dynamic locations and outstanding customer service. Bass Pro Shops also operates White River Marine Group, offering an unsurpassed collection of industry-leading boat brands, and Big Cedar Lodge, America's Premier Wilderness Resort. Under the visionary conservation leadership of Johnny Morris, Bass Pro Shops is a national leader in protecting habitat and introducing families to the outdoors and has been named by Forbes as "one of America's Best Employers." Bass Pro Shops has a long relationship with NASCAR, dating back to 1998. For more information, visit http://www.basspro.com/.
Welcome Coca-Cola, Arby’s Foundation, and Folds of Honor … As a Coca-Cola Racing Family driver, Austin Dillon and Richard Childress Racing are proud to partner with Coca-Cola and Arby’s Foundation to highlight the amazing work Folds of Honor does for families of those who’ve sacrificed their lives for our country. To learn more about Folds of Honor, visit https://foldsofhonor.org/.
600 Miles of Remembrance … Dillon and the No. 3 team will participate in 600 Miles of Remembrance on Memorial Day Weekend. Dillon’s name will be replaced on his race car windshield header with the name of a fallen military service member for the Coca-Cola 600 at Charlotte Motor Speedway. The No. 3 team will feature Chief Warrant Officer Navy SEAL Scott Adam Stout, who died in the line of duty on July 2, 2021.
Double Duty … In addition to competing in Sunday’s Coca-Cola 600, Dillon is scheduled to race in the NASCAR Xfinity Series on Saturday afternoon. The race is live on FS1 on Saturday, May 28 at 1 p.m. ET.
AUSTIN DILLON QUOTES:
You’ve had three top-10 finishes in the Coca-Cola 600 in the last three races there. Is Charlotte Motor Speedway a track that your team is circling this year as one of your potentially best races where you can lock in a win? What has made the No. 3 team so strong there?
“I don’t know what it is about Charlotte Motor Speedway. I’ve always had success there. I enjoy the track. I understand what it takes to be fast there in a race car and I have a feel for it. Obviously, I won my first Cup race at Charlotte, so I definitely circle it every year as a place where we go and compete well at. Last year, we were really fast. One of our pit crew members went down leading into that race, so we kind of struggled on pit road that week. I’m really excited about it and taking the Next Gen car there. We did get one test there this off season when it was really cold outside. I’m always excited to go to Charlotte. It’s a good place for me.”
Looking beyond the racing and the event of the weekend, there’s been so much change in the NASCAR Cup Series schedule and so much innovation. What do you see as the benefit of keeping something like the Coca-Cola 600 a crown jewel event on the NASCAR Schedule? Or do you think they should take it off the schedule at some point?
“I hope they never take the Coca-Cola 600 at Charlotte Motor Speedway on Memorial Day weekend off the schedule. To me, it’s an iconic weekend - being Memorial Day weekend and seeing all the different military branches represented, and getting to honor the men and women that protect our country. I always get excited for that race – the national anthem, the show that goes on before and really paying homage to all of those that have fought for this country. To me, I hope it doesn’t change. It is a crown jewel. Being 600 miles, your preparation changes a little bit because you know you’re going to be in the race car for such a long period of time. I think it’s a very special race and I hope it never goes away.”
I think there is a feeling that RCR is strong this year at this point of the season, but looking at what you did last year compared to this year at this time, the stats are fairly similar. How much has changed? Are you guys really that much stronger?
“We were pretty strong last year and we kind of got overlooked because we didn’t make the Playoffs. We were a consistent team all of last year. This year, I do feel like we’ve had way more opportunities to win races. I think the disappointing part is that we’ve had bigger catastrophes at the race track, like getting wrecked at Phoenix Raceway and finishing 21st in that race, getting wrecked at Atlanta Motor Speedway coming to a stage end for a possibility of top-three points there, and blowing up at Daytona International Speedway and Bristol Motor Speedway.
We didn’t have those types of bad days at this point last year. We had a couple more average days, but we’ve also had some bigger days with two second-place finishes at Auto Club Speedway, Talladega Superspeedway and a third-place finish at Martinsville Speedway. We’ve definitely had more opportunities to win than last year. My teammate, Tyler Reddick, has two or three second-place finishes, as well. If you look at the total of it, we’ve done a good job and should be in victory lane at this point. That’s the disappointing part – I feel like we’ve had some really close calls and not been able to capitalize. That’s why you see us where we’re at in points. I feel confident that we can go to Victory Lane this year and I think it will happen.”