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Oct 09, 2012 - 05:40 PM
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2012 Charlotte II: Austin Dillon NASCAR Nationwide Race Preview
Posted by: newsla on Oct 09, 2012 - 05:36 PM
2012 Charlotte II: Austin Dillon NASCAR Nationwide Race Preview

This Week's Bass Pro Shops Chevrolet at Charlotte Motor Speedway ... Austin Dillon will pilot Chassis No. 118 from the Richard Childress Racing NASCAR Nationwide Series stable in the Dollar General 300. Dillon drove this Chevrolet to a third-place finish after starting second at Chicagoland Speedway in September.


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Dillon at Charlotte Motor Speedway ... Dillon made his first Nationwide Series start at CMS in the History 300 in May, where he qualified second and posted an 11th-place finish after battling a loose-handling condition on his No. 3 Chevrolet. Dillon also has two starts at Charlotte Motor Speedway in the NASCAR Camping World Truck Series, earning his best finish of seventh in the May 2011 event.

The Season So Far ... According to NASCAR's Season-to-Date Loop Data Statistics, Dillon has completed 96.30 percent of Laps on the Lead Lap, ranking him second among all competitors. The Nationwide Series rookie has completed 91.1 percent of his Laps in the Top 15, ranking him second and has an Average Running Position of 8.504 in the season's 28 contested Nationwide Series races, ranking him second. He is ranked third in the Fastest Laps Run category with 410 laps so far this season, maintains a Driver Rating of 105.2, ranking him third, has the fourth-fastest Speed in Traffic, is the fourth-Fastest Driver Late in a Run and has 414 Laps Led this season, ranking him fourth. He has the fifth-fastest Green Flag Speed, is fifth-Fastest on Restarts, ranks fifth in Quality Passes with 959 and is the sixth-fastest Driver Early in a Run.

Get to the Points ... Dillon ranks third in the 2012 Nationwide Series driver championship point standings, trailing current point leader and RCR teammate Elliott Sadler by 25 points. The Welcome, N.C., driver currently leads the Sunoco Rookie of the Year standings over Cole Whitt.

Welcome, Bass Pro Shops ... Dillon and his team will sport the colors of the nation's No. 1 outdoor retailer, Bass Pro Shops, on the No. 3 Chevrolet this weekend. A long-time motorsports supporter, Bass Pro Shops was the primary partner on Dillon's No. 3 Chevrolet Silverado in the Camping World Truck Series when he earned the rookie of the year honors (2010) and driver's championship (2011). The outdoor retailer currently has 58 stores throughout the United States and Canada visited by over 110 million people annually, international catalog and internet retailing, American Rod & Gun wholesale division selling to over 7,000 independently owned retail stores worldwide, Outdoor World Incentives also selling Bass Pro Shops gift cards through over 132,000 retail outlets across America and a restaurant division with 26 locations. For more information regarding Bass Pro Shops store locations, products or special events, please visit www.basspro.com. To request a free catalog, call 1-800-BASS PRO.

Vote for Austin ... Dillon is in the running for the 2012 Nationwide Series Most Popular Driver award. Fans can vote online at nascar.com/nnsmpd through Nov. 16. Two lucky fans and their guests will win an all-expense paid trip to the 2012 Nationwide Series and Camping World Truck Series awards banquet on Nov. 19 at the Loews Miami Beach Hotel by registering for the MPD vote sweepstakes after placing their vote on NASCAR.com.

Off Weekend Fun ... The Nationwide Series regulars broke a 17-week consecutive stretch of races the first weekend of October and Dillon spent the time in familiar territory, behind the seat of his No. 3 Bass Pro Shops Chevrolet dirt late model. Dillon drove the Team Dillon Racing entry to a 17th-place finish after an early-race spin at Natural Bridge Speedway in Virginia. During the Nationwide Series off weekend, Dillon also attended the Carolina Panthers game with his brother, Ty Dillon, on Sunday.

Double Duty ... In addition to Saturday's Dollar General 300 Nationwide Series race, Dillon and his younger brother Ty are scheduled to race in the World of Outlaws Dirt Late Model event at the Dirt Track at Charlotte Motor Speedway on Wednesday, Oct. 10. Fans can get $5 off admission to the Late Model Showdown when you present a 24 oz premium coffee cup from Circle K when purchasing a ticket.

Dover International Speedway Recap ... Dillon posted a 10th-place finish after running within the top three for a majority of the OneMain Financial 200 at Dover International Speedway. Dillon qualified 10th for the 200-lap event and was scored in the third position for a restart with approximately 20 laps remaining but the driver in the car in front of him spun his tires when the green flag was displayed, causing Dillon to lose track position and fall to 12th in the running order before driving up to 10th for the race's finish.

You're racing at the Dirt Track at Charlotte Motor Speedway on Wednesday. Does dirt racing help you in your NASCAR career?
"I think it just keeps you sharp anytime you can get into a race car. When you look at some of the guys who are really good, like Tony Stewart, they are in a race car all of the time. I think it's an advantage for my brother and I to race dirt late models and we try to keep in it so that we can stay sharp at all times. The Dirt Track at Charlotte Motor Speedway is a fun, fast track and has some of the best racing around. We practiced there last week and I think the track is the best it's ever been. The staff at the Dirt Track has done a phenomenal job of keeping up with it and its pretty smooth and fast."

Do you think you're still in contention for the Nationwide Series championship?
"I think we've had one of the fastest cars each and every week for the last four or five weeks so if we can keep this streak going we're sitting fine in terms of this championship. If we gain five points for each of the last five races we'll be there at the end. Our main goal from the beginning of the year was to win Rookie of the Year and to have a shot at the championship at Homestead-Miami Speedway in November. I think we've put ourselves in position where we are going to have a shot I hope, and if we do that it will be a successful season, especially in our rookie year. If we can take home a championship it will be above and beyond the goals we set for ourselves for our first year. I'm very happy with our guys. Our crew is working so well together right now, and the cool thing is that we are going to some of these tracks for the second and third time and having a little bit of a notebook to look back on. I think I've developed a lot as a driver and the crew has developed a lot as a team, so I'm looking forward to what's ahead for us."

What's it mean to you to race at Charlotte Motor Speedway?
"It's so close to home that I truly consider it one of 'my home tracks'. The party would start early if we won at Charlotte Motor Speedway because it's right up the road from my home in Lexington, N.C. We didn't have the greatest handling car the last time we went there but the good thing is the temperature is going to be a little bit cooler so there is going to be more grip on the track, and I think that suits me a little bit better than some of the hot, slick tracks that we go to. I'm looking forward to getting to Charlotte Motor Speedway and adjusting on the racecar to try and have something for the race. It's been raining here in Lexington quite a bit recently so hopefully the weather will be great. Race cars like to run fast in cool weather so I'm looking forward to the race weekend."

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