Ahead of Sunday’s Cookout Southern 500 at Darlington (6 p.m. ET; TV: NBCSN, Radio: MRN), we are profiling the seven teams that make up the 2020 NASCAR Cup Series playoff field. In this article, we are profiling Richard Childress Racing and their playoff driver, Austin Dillon.
No. 3 Austin Dillon (Tied for 10th in points, +1 ahead of 13th place Clint Bowyer)
Chevrolet has seen an uptick in performance this season that is not quite as drastic as the first seven races indicated, but has helped a team like Richard Childress Racing. After 26 races, Dillon has scored his best average finish (16.9) since 2016 and most top 10s at this point in a season since 2016, while also leading the most laps (80) in a single season of his career. Dillon and his team still have some work to do to get out of the first round. Dillon was ranked 18th in the regular season standings, 93 points behind Matt DiBenedetto, who earned the final playoff spot on points. Dillon also has the third-worst average finish of all playoff drivers, besting only Alex Bowman (17.0) and Cole Custer (19.9), while also having the second-lowest amount of stage points (57) of all playoff drivers, besting only Cole Custer (18). Thankfully for Dillon, he is seeded tenth in the playoffs and going to three tracks that are among his ten best tracks, including Darlington where he has a 13.2 average finish and a 10th-place finish scored in last year’s Southern 500. Dillon will contend for a transfer spot out of the first round but the second round is questionable. No less, a playoffs spot via a win for Dillon is enough of a success for him and his team that finished 21st in points with no wins last season.