Dillon to Run Full Nationwide Schedule in '13
Richard Childress is in no rush to push grandson Austin Dillon into full-time Sprint Cup competition.
"I've seen too many young guys come along and get moved up too quick," Childress said Sunday at Chicagoland Speedway, where Dillon finished sixth in the STP 300. "We don't want to do that."
So Dillon, battling teammate Elliott Sadler atop this year's points standings, can expect to run another full Nationwide schedule in 2013, at the same time, getting a bit more exposure in Cup.
Ideally, Childress said he can expect seven Sprint Cup races.
"We're going to run him next year in Nationwide for a full season and we'll run him in a few more Cup races and look at how we progress there," Childress said.
"That's always been the plan – kind of the plan we laid out when they were 13, 15 years old. You get two years in the Truck, two years in [Nationwide]. That's sort of the game plan for his brother [Ty] as well. We'll run him two years in Truck, then move him up. Of course, they've got to prove themselves every week."
So far, so good for Austin Dillon, who started second Sunday and raced in the top five for most of the race. His bid for his second Nationwide victory and a shot at the Dash4Cash jackpot was thwarted in part by a late-race caution that juggled the field and in part by the weather which came up cloudier than expected.
"The weather hurt us," said Dillon, who dropped 11 points behind the victorious Sadler. "We were too tight all day. When the sun came out we were really good and strong. Then, at the end we just got caught by circumstances. We came down pit road [at the wrong time] and it just killed us."
As for Grandpa's plans to have him run a full Nationwide Series schedule again in 2013, it seems to suit him just fine.
"That would be great," he said. "Hopefully, we finish this year as the champs and go into next year with another strong run coming."
Childress has been impressed with Austin's style -- especially the cowboy hat which has become a family trademark. "The fans seem to love it," Childress said -- and his work ethic.
"He's doing really well and he works really hard at it -- trains really hard. He does a lot of short-track racing in between [major events] just to stay tuned up. I'm proud of his accomplishments as well as his brother's in the Truck Series."
Dillon has placed in the top 10 in 14 of 18 Nationwide starts this season. He made his second career Sprint Cup start with a 24th at Michigan International Speedway on June 17, less than two weeks before his Nationwide win at Kentucky Speedway.
Ty Dillon, 20, made his Nationwide Series debut, finishing eighth June 2 at Dover. He's been in the top 10 in 11 of his 13 career Camping World Truck Series starts.
Sadler made Sunday a winning afternoon for RCR, overcoming a weekend-long bout with stomach flu and holding off Ricky Stenhouse Jr. thanks to a push from Chevrolet driver Justin Allgaier on the restart for the green-white-checkered finish.
"I had to get a good start," said Sadler, who led the final 32 laps (and 35 all told) on his way to claiming not only the win but the $100,000 Dash 4 Cash bonus. "Justin did a good job of pushing me straight and did [it] like a tandem re-start. He did a great job. I owe him a 'thank you' and owe him one somewhere else."
Like Austin Dillon, Sadler said the weather was a huge factor.
"When the sun came out, this track changed a ton," Sadler said. "I could not believe how much difference. From one lap to the next my car would go from pretty good to neutral to really loose."
The top 10 drivers in the Nationwide standings all retained their position after Sunday's race. Allgaier remained in fifth place, 78 points behind Sadler, with his fourth top-10 finish in five races at Chicagoland.