Chevy Racing–NASCAR–Richmond–Austin Dillon

SEPTEMBER 15, 2016

AUSTIN DILLON, NO. 3 DOW CHEVROLET SS, met with members of the media at Chase Media Day and discussed making his first career Chase, his expectations in the playoff and many other topics. Full Transcript:


“You know, there’s so many different aspects of looking at this. For me it’s just doing what we can to get the best finish every race. Whatever it takes with what we’ve got to get the best finish every race. Then when you go home, you’re happy.

“You max out the ability of the car, you max out the ability of your crew and driver, and whatever happens after that is golden.”


“Well, I feel like it was a group effort to just get the best group we could going in this Chase, with us being the only RCR team in it. We were able to just really add two pieces to the puzzle. I feel like that can just shore our lineup when we go across the wall. Hopefully it’s the right decision. I think it is. I wholeheartedly believe it is.

“We’re going to do what it takes as an organization to make it as far as we can in this thing.”

The drivers have all talked about they’re able to do so many things on this track that they can’t do everywhere else. Does that help you a little bit, give you an opportunity you might not have somewhere else?

“I think it does. The track there really widens out, three-wide racing. I love changing the grooves and the sliding, being able to pass cars. It’s a cool track. I’ve always enjoyed coming there.”

Do you have a pick for the XFINITY Series, one that isn’t your brother?

“Ty is my pick in the XFINITY Series Chase. We’re also in the owners’ Chase, so I could pick myself because I’m eligible to win the owners’ championship Chase in the XFINITY Series.

“I think the guy to beat going into the XFINITY Series Chase is Erik Jones. They’ve had the speed all year long. Him and Daniel Suarez is tough. And I think Ty will be the best challenge for that.


“It was good. I threw a strike. Threw some heat behind it. That’s the first real strike I’ve thrown at a first pitch. This is my third first pitch. I’ve thrown a couple balls. That one, I feel like it was pretty close over the plate.”

Do you think running the XFINITY races helped you on the Cup side?

“I feel like running the XFINITY Series, it kind of calms you and get you another look into what the track does as it gets rubbered up. You can kind of go over some adjustments that work for the XFINITY car over to the Cup. This week I’m not running it, but the races at the end of the Chase, I will be.”

First year in the Chase after a couple of years, and a crew chief change this week.

“Not crew chief change.”

Sorry, crew member change.


Has that been planned for a couple weeks or come on all of a sudden?
“Well, I mean, I wouldn’t say it’s been the plan for a couple weeks. But the opportunity we had, being the only car in the Chase at RCR, we felt like we could possibly strengthen our lineup a little bit.

“And the other thing is we really only made one real change. One of our guys went down at Bristol. We’ve kind of had a fill-in that hasn’t been carrying all year long. He filled in, did a great job. When the 31 was knocked out, we had an opportunity to get a really good rear carrier, move him to the rear, and move our regular front guy back to the front. That was kind of cleaning up things.

“We had an experienced jackman that had been in the Chase on the 31 also. Got to thank a lot the 31 team for letting us take this opportunity and kind of run with it. Everybody at RCR is all in for this Chase. And the one goal we have set is to make it as far as we can and win this thing.”

How much confidence does it give you to be the one team that all those resources get funneled to you first?

“Yeah, I was downstairs kind of listening to Tony. We were in the Chevy deal. He talked about how they’re tied to Hendrick, Stewart-Haas is. The Ganassi guys kind of had ties in certain ways, too. I felt kind of like the lone wolf in this deal.

“There’s a lot to that. There’s an advantage to that, having an organization like RCR, as big as we are, to be able to put a lot of resources into it.

“So I’m excited. We also have a lot of affiliate teams that are out there that will be giving us what they can from the weekend that are not in the Chase. So hopefully we can do a lot with this and use it to our advantage.”
Have you had time to talk to Paul after Saturday night? It was clear the two of you were unhappy with each other.

“Yeah, I talked to him. We were on the plane together. We ride on the team plane together. I got back there, had an empty seat. Sat down, talked to him. Kind of explained to him what I was going through during the race.

“Darlington, I got into him, and it was a mistake of mine. I told him after the race, Hey, I totally messed up. Obviously the pressure of getting in there was important to me. He understood that.

“He was actually angry about an incident that I didn’t even know about really. I thought that I was clear off of four. I kind of squeezed him. Just a misunderstanding there.

“I think we’re kind of on the right path. I’ll talk to him again before this race weekend. We’re in the meetings together. Nothing really was said after we had our conversation, so I feel like we’re in a good spot.

“I mean, the good thing is we were racing hard against each other. And to have RCR competitive is a positive, is a plus.”

How much is it good for you guys to clear the air, get that out of the way, so you don’t have any distractions running into this 10-race playoff?

“Well, I’m learning a lot about relationships now. I’m engaged. Communication is everything. Communicating with him was a start to it. I’ve always had a good relationship with Paul. We both love a lot of the same things. We love the outdoors. We love racing. We’ve never really had an issue.
I just want to tell him, Hey, I’m not doing this on purpose or any certain way. I’m just racing hard. He said the same thing.

“He understands. He was in the Chase last year at that point leading up to it, and knows how stressful it is. I think now we’re at a good place.”

Do you have an idea how you want to approach the rounds? Do you want to dive right in, be more aggressive, or minimize and not make mistakes?

“This first round, there’s still a lot of cars in, there’s still a lot of spots available in my mind. So for us, I want to max out the ability of my car, max out the ability of the team and myself. I’m going to be happy each round, I feel like, when we get back home, saying that I did everything I could do.

“That’s our goal, is just to max out our position, where we should finish, try to gain a little bit more of that. Aggressiveness, you have to be aggressive. I don’t think you can’t be and get away either way.

“But I think we’re all kind of aggressive throughout a race anyways.

“I’m going to take what is given and hopefully take a little bit more when the time allows it.”

In your time in Cup racing against Tony, what’s a memorable moment?

“Yeah, Tony, he’s unlike any other guy you race against really. He has a vision, and his vision’s very clear about how he wants to be raced. I’ve learned that over three years. It’s nice knowing that. You know where you stand with him. I mean, you really do.

“If you’re faster than him, he usually lets you go more than others do. Then when he’s coming through there, if he’s catching you, and you are not prompt-to of getting out of the way, he’s going to let you know the same way, which is fine. So you just kind of know what you got there, know where he stands every time. That is one thing I’ll always say: you know where he stands when he’s racing you.”


“I kind of noticed it. I mean, it was unlike any other guy when you get to about how he would let you go. The same way coming back up through, he didn’t want to mess around. If you weren’t out of the way by the time he wanted to be there, he’s going to move you.

“I had a conversation. It was New Hampshire and Indy this year. He called me after Indy because he had held me up for quite a while. It was on his mind. He had mentioned my fact of holding him up at New Hampshire. He was just saying, Hey, that was all because of this.

“It was good to have that conversation with him and know where we were.”

With you, Kyle Larson and Chase Elliott, Chris Buescher as well, being in the Chase, do you find yourself wanting to beat them a little more as the rounds progress?

“I think there’s always a rivalry between the young guys, for sure, trying to get more fans to latch onto you. At this period of time, I think it’s an important period to gain as many people as you can. We’re all in the championship right here. It makes it fun and interesting.

“So I’m always going to be competitive no matter what. I want to beat all these guys. The biggest thing is maximizing, like I said, what we have, the opportunity we have. I’m going to be happy either way.”

Talk a little bit about being one of the four new drivers that are coming into the Chase and leading the way for the next generation. How do you feel about that?

“I think it’s very special. The opportunity there to grasp a fan base that is probably looking for a new driver is at a peak because you got guys moving out like Jeff Gordon, Tony Stewart. Trying to grab some of these people, get them to latch onto you, it’s prime time right now. So I think it’s a critical time.

“I think it’s exciting for race fans who might not always have had a driver or are looking for a driver, first-time people.

“It’s a great time to be in my position.”

Six speeding penalties among the top drivers. How do you have to be aware of that?

“Yeah, I seen that this week. Was it your article that said all that? Somebody wrote an article on it.

“It was good to see that. I was like, Dang, man. I didn’t know I had that many. Half of them were mine. Half of them were our engineer. The good thing is we had one at Darlington in a critical time, and I knew that it wasn’t me, it was a mistake on what we’ve done in the car that read wrong. It was the second time it happened. So it was good to have that happen at Darlington because it refocused us on how important making sure our pit road speed is right. I feel like I’ve done a better job, but you’ve got to push it to a certain point.

“I’m not going to let it change my mindset in these next three races of giving up speed on pit road. I’m going to maximize it, get in the box hard. I’m not going to burn myself if it doesn’t go the right way. But I want to make sure that those lights are right.

“We’ll do a good job of it in the Chase, I’m pretty sure.”