MONSTER ENERGY NASCAR CUP SERIES
PRE-SEASON MEDIA AVAILABILITY
CHARLOTTE MEDIA TOUR
TEAM CHEVY DRIVER PRESS CONF. TRANSCRIPT
JANUARY 25, 2017
AUSTIN DILLON, NO. 3 DOW CORNING CHEVROLET SS, met with members of the media at Charlotte Media tour and discussed his outlook for the season with Richard Childress Racing, his relationship with his brother, Ty Dillon, and how he relaxed in the off-season. Full transcript:
TY (DILLON) TALKED ABOUT WHAT AN EMOTIONAL MOMENT IT WAS WHEN THE DEAL WITH GERMAIN RACING WAS DONE. AS THE BIG BROTHER, HOW PROUD AND HAPPY ARE YOU FOR HIM?
“I’m very proud. He was emotional. He cried and gave me a hug. It was cute. It’s special; he’s put a lot of effort into it and it’s what he’s wanted to do his entire life. I’m happy for him, and he should be happy and excited. Now it’s time when the work really begins, and I’m looking forward to working with him. I think he’s an asset to RCR.”
YOUR (GRANDFATHER) HAS THREE DRIVERS. WHICH PIT BOX DOES HE STAND ON DURING THE RACES?
“The funny thing is he doesn’t stand or sit on the pit boxes any more. He stopped doing that. He has certain locations that he goes and stands. It used to be the old entitlement sponsor trailer because he could see the entire track, so he’s going to have to find a new spot this year. Good luck finding him because he has some good ones. Daytona, though, he goes all the way to the top above Victory Lane because he can see the entire track. He has some good hiding spots. But he’s unbiased when it comes to that. Maybe one day I can get him to sit on our box just for fun.”
HAS THE WINLESS DROUGHT AT RCR TAKEN A LIFE OF ITS OWN?
“It sucks. No one likes to go winless. 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 and myself included. Any kind of effort we can do to not letting any stone go unturned, try to find any bit of speed we’re going to do it. Last year, making the Chase and now we have a playoff format with bonus points that are going to mean a lot, so speed is something we’re going to have to rely on more. We were kind of a points-chasing organization the last couple of years. Myself and (Ryan) Newman did a good job of getting into the Chase and making a name for ourselves by getting through each round. But now we’re going to have to show speed early and often for these segments, and the strategy that goes into that will play a lot of it. We’ve got our organization headed in the right direction. I’m excited and there is a lot to be excited for. We had speed at the end of the year, winning those poles, that we won Texas and had speed and got wrecked. We can be aggressive this year and do what it takes to be ahead of the pack.”
DO YOU FEEL YOU CAN TEST THE WATERS WHEN YOU RUN THE XFINITY RACES AS FAR AS THE FORMAT AND STAGES GO?
“It’s going to be big. I think that’s the cool part about the new format. You have trucks and Xfinity leading up to Sunday. You’ll be able to see some strategy play out, and we’ll definitely be using that platform to get better at RCR. Any time you can use, when a format change happens, you can draw from all the series it’s going to be good. I think it’s going to be good for the fans, too. They need to tune in and watch the truck and Xfinity race at Daytona so they can learn more.”
AT THE HALL OF FAME AWARDS, VERY EMOTIONAL FOR YOUR WHOLE FAMILY. YOU HAVE TO BE PROUD. ON A LESS SERIOUS NOTE, WILL THERE BE A RACE TO HAVE A BETTER BEARD THAN JIMMIE (JOHNSON)?
“The Hall of Fame was great. My grandfather is very serious when it comes to everything he does. My beard is an issue with him and can be. He compared it to Jimmie’s beard, and he said, ‘You can keep it like Jimmie’s. It’s nice.’ I sent him a picture a minute ago when NASCAR posted that photo of Jimmie and that big beard and said I guess I guess I was ahead of my time because I had a big beard at the end of last year. It’s funny how that comes and goes. Proud of my grandfather. He’s done a lot for NASCAR and his employees, myself included, and it makes you want to get this winless streak cleared away. Just want to get him back where he deserves to be. He gives us the equipment and organization to do it, and now we have to perform and make it happen.”
YOU SAID YOU A RE PROUD OF TY, BUT HAS THE SIBLING RIVALRY STARTED YET?
“It started when he was born. We do a lot to help each other because we care. Ty cares as much as I do about RCR. I’m proud that he’s an affiliate with us, and it’s cool to be able to look at his driver traces this year and compare. I think he’ll be able to push myself and Ryan and Paul and all four of us hopefully, and our other affiliates can move the needle where we need to go forward with.”
RC GOES UP TOP, BUT WHERE DOES YOUR DAD GO?
“When the race starts on Sundays, he can’t sit still. He does a good job of just going with the flow. He went and sat in my bus with my fiancée last year, and she had to kick him out because he was getting too jacked up. He gets jacked up and gets mad at me and gets mad at the crew. He calms down and wants to love on you. He’s competitive and that’s where a lot of my fire comes from. He’s always pushing.”
AFTER YOUR TERRIBLE WRECK IN 2015, ARE YOU FEELING ANY DIFFERENT GOING BACK TO DAYTONA?
“I’m comfortable. After going through a wreck like that, you feel like Superman for a couple of weeks when you go back and look at it. NASCAR has done a lot of safety and they’ve added new enhancements for this year. It’s going to be fun going to Daytona because I feel there’s always a storyline, something always happens. Something about that track, something different. So it’s very important how Daytona gets started from qualifying and now the points system, it’s going to be aggressive from the start.”
DURING THE OFF-SEASON, DID YOU DO ANYTHING TO GET RACING COMPLETELY OUT OF YOUR MIND?
“My family is kind of racing, so it’s hard when you want to be with your family and not talk about racing. I think the best thing I did was getting in the outdoors, hunting and fishing. I went to Texas with some of my race team, but we were talking the whole time about beer and dinner and lunch in the middle of nowhere. That was probably the best part of the off-season. But you want to think about racing because last year ended really well for our team, and our entire team was like I wish we could start over right now with what we know. And in 2015 we found some speed and in 2016 ended with speed. In 2017, we wanted to start the next day. It’s momentum for us going into Daytona. I’m refreshed and ready to go.”