No. 22 Austin Dillon
Image by Cheerthe3 / Flickr.com
Dillon's Cheerios paint scheme.
By Dominic Aragón
February 1, 2014
Disclaimer: All opinions expressed are solely those of the writer.
Austin Dillon’s first full-time season in Cup will have multiple storylines to follow.
Dillon will be competing with seven other drivers for Rookie of the Year honors in what may be the Cup Series’ best rookie class in recent memory. His part-time experience over the past three seasons may pay off, as he and Kyle Larson will both be perennial favorites to be the top rookie in 2014.
The hype surrounding Dillon and the coveted No. 3 car is not surprising, as the number made famous by the late Dale Earnhardt will return after a 13 year absence.
No matter Dillon’s accomplishments in his rookie campaign, his critics will be watching him under a microscope since he is running arguably the most famous number ever ran in NASCAR.
Dillon has already started off 2014 boldly, topping the speed charts at Daytona testing last month. But what should be expected the rest of the season?
Dillon has shown to run most consistently at the mile-and-a-half racetracks, as that was evident with his three top-20 finishes in Cup coming at those tracks in 2013.
RCR’s “cookie cutter” program is the team’s strong suit, and it is possible to see Dillon knock off top-10 finishes at these types of racetracks. And, with NASCAR’s tweaked rules to the playoffs, Dillon and crew might be dark horses to earn a Chase berth this season. If it happens, he will become the first driver since Denny Hamlin in 2006 to make the Chase as a rookie.
Stats provided by racing-reference.info