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Feb 14, 2013 - 01:55 PM
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2013 Daytona 500 Q&A: NASCAR Sprint Cup - Austin Dillon
Posted by: ASkyler on Feb 14, 2013 - 01:52 PM
NASCAR News
2013 Daytona 500 Q&A: NASCAR Sprint Cup - Austin Dillon


AUSTIN DILLON, NO. 33 CHEERIOS CHEVROLET SS, met with members of the media and discussed making his first Daytona 500 start, racing for a championship in the Nationwide Series in 2013 and other topics.

WITH SO MANY PEOPLE COMING INTO NATIONWIDE TRYING TO PROVE THEMSELVES HOW WILL THAT AFFECT YOU RUNNING FOR A CHAMPIONSHIP? "Running for a championship this year is going to be tough. Not only do we have guys that are consistent and are coming down from the (NASCAR Sprint) Cup series that are going to be tough. Like you said you have got guys that are going to want to prove themselves and I have seen back in the Truck Series when I raced that you have guys that make big mistakes trying to make that move. Instead of trying to take a top-five you are taking more than what the car can give you at that time. You will see some of that this year I’m sure you are just going to have to watch who you are around and be smart the people you race."

WHAT DO YOU EXPECT CUP WISE THIS YEAR? WHAT DO YOU WANT TO GET OUT OF THAT? "The biggest thing is to gain experience and have that ready for 2014. The great thing that the Nationwide Series is going to give me this year is the competition level is going to be awesome. Especially with the experience that is coming in and then you’ve got guys that are just fast there is a lot of sheer speed out there. That competition level is going to help me going into 2014. For the races that we run just want to go out there and gain experience and try and lineup with these guys and make sure we are going to be confident for the next year."

 

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YOU HAVE SEEN THE STRUGGLES RCR (RICHARD CHILDRESS RACING) HAS HAD ON THE CUP SIDE. ON THE INSIDE WHAT IS YOUR VIEW ON THAT? WHAT HAS BEEN THE ISSUE? "I think we have made the right steps as a company to come back this next year and work together more. I think that was one of the big things. Our Nationwide shop did a great job of making sure we were all on the same program when we got to the track. Our drivers worked well last year together. I think this year the Cup drivers are going to be better together also. We will just have to kind of corral and make it more what we had at that Nationwide shop where we worked really well together in practice. If a car was faster we switched to that setup. It’s not an ego thing it’s more just you take what is faster and go with it. In today’s world you have to have good teammates that push you and use their setups. We will see how it goes this year. I think we have made a good step hiring Eric Warren. With him and my dad (Mike Dillon) they have been working really hard in the off season to make sure that the cars are very similar and working together well."

WHAT DO YOU FEEL LIKE IN TERMS OF GOING FROM NATIONWIDE TO CUP WHAT IS THE BIGGEST CHALLENGE THAT YOU CAN SEE YOURSELF FACING? "The competition level is obviously the best in NASCAR. You don’t have from first to 15th, you have first to 25th, 26th, 27th, all the way back to 30th. You’ve got guys that are running within the same three to four tenths. You can’t miss a line, you can’t mess up, and you’ve just got to be very consistent. That is where you see a guy like Jimmie Johnson who has done so well. He is mentally just a very tough guy and stays up front and just wears you down. I think the Cup series is a grueling 36 races that you really have to be prepared for when you go into it."

ERIC (WARREN) HAS TALKED A LOT ABOUT GETTING EACH TEAM ON PARALLEL TRACKS. THAT IS KIND OF EASIER TO TALK ABOUT THAN ACTUALLY DO. CAN YOU JUST SIT GUYS DOWN AND SAY THIS IS WHAT IS GOING TO HAPPEN? "It’s pretty tough you’ve got to have guys that are willing to want to change. You can’t change it on your own. They’ve got to want to buy into the same program. I think it is going to be an interesting to see how we do when we get to these oval tracks. I know these cars have been faster. Our RCR cars have been faster at the tests. I’m looking forward to getting out in one."

WHAT ARE YOUR THOUGHTS ABOUT RUNNING THE NO. 3? "I’d love to run the No. 3. Jeff (Gluck) sitting right in front of me, he had a great article with Richard Petty and just to see the No. 43 and No. 3 out there it would be very cool. We were able to push each other around last year in the July 4th race. I enjoy running the number. It’s very special to me and my family. Not only that, it’s just a fun number to have running out there. All I can guarantee is 110 percent from my part and if we are running that number it’s just going to give you a great opportunity to see it back out there and be up front."

WOULD YOU AND TY (DILLON) EVER BOTH WANT TO RUN THAT NUMBER? "I think from the beginning I started running that in a Bandolero. He (Ty) started running a No. 2 then he switched to No. 41 in ARCA. He has been pretty comfortable with that. I think he would like to have the No. 41. Just because my grandfather ran that at Bowman Gray (Stadium) and that was one of his other numbers. He likes that number and he won an ARCA championship with it. He kind of leans toward that number he said."

DO YOU OWN A (RICHARD) PETTY MODEL CHARLIE 1 HORSE HAT?

"I don’t have all the cool stuff on top of mine. I’m kind of a little bit more simple. He has got the really cool feathers and snake skin and stuff. I have seen some of his hats. They are very awesome. I got to go to the main office in Texas."

HAVE YOU JUST ALWAYS LIKED THE HATS OR DID YOU MAKE A CONSCIOUS DECISION THAT THIS WAS GOING TO BE YOUR THING? "I have always liked the hats. I don’t know if it’s my thing because I can go out and wear a baseball cap or spike up my hair whatever it may be. I don’t want to lock myself into anything."

DO THE FANS LIKE THE HAT? "Yeah there are a lot of people that like the hat. I gave one away at Bristol to a kid. I try and pass them out every now and then if I have some straw hats. I don’t give out the felts very often."

IS THERE ROOM FOR TWO COWBOY HATS IN THE CUP SERIES? YOU AND RICKY (STENHOUSE, JR.)?

"He doesn’t really wear his on race day. He just kind of wears his around before. Yeah, I’m fine with that. I think it’s cool to look back at some of these heroes that wore cowboy hats. Everybody back in the day a lot of people wore them. Not only just because they are cool, but during the summer it gets pretty hot. We get to some of those places where the sun is burning down on you it’s nice to have a little shade."

WHO LOOKS COOLEST IN A COWBOY HAT? "Well, Dale Earnhardt with his long hair was pretty awesome. He had that suit undone and he had the cowboy hat on. I don’t know if it was here that picture was taken, but it’s a pretty awesome picture."

AS FAR AS JITTERS GO DO YOU GET THEM AND WHAT IS THE BEST WAY TO HANDLE THEM? "I think I’ve gotten better with the butterflies. The only time I ever kind of get a little bit nervous is probably before qualifying just because you are the only car out there and I always want to bust off a big lap. That has always been a fun time for me is qualifying. I’ve been able to be pretty successful with it. Once we are in the race and all the weekend’s events are kind of dying down that is the most calm you will see me is getting into the car. Just because we are sitting down in the place I feel comfortable. The Daytona 500 qualifying for it that is going to be pretty nerve racking, but once we get in it’s going to be fun from there. It’s all going to be fun, there are no points, just go out there and give it your all which is an advantage in my opinion."


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