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Aug 22, 2014 - 04:46 PM
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2014 Bristol II Q&A: NASCAR Sprint Cup - Austin Dillon
Posted by: ASkyler on Aug 22, 2014 - 04:43 PM
2014 Bristol II Q&A: NASCAR Sprint Cup - Austin Dillon

AUSTIN DILLON, NO. 3 DOW GREAT STUFF CHEVROLET SS, met with members of the media at Bristol Motor Speedway and discussed his opportunity to make this year’s Chase as a rookie, his continuation of dirt racing and many other topics.

TALK ABOUT YOUR MINDSET HERE THIS WEEKEND AT BRISTOL: "It’s to have a good run obviously. Practice went not as planned, but hopefully we can turn it around right here in qualifying. It’s definitely different from the first time around, a lot different with the tires. We brought the same set-up we had earlier this year and doing a 180 right now trying to find some things and look at what our teammates got in the car. We don’t have a ton of speed as far as all the cars, but we have one car that is pretty decent. Just trying to find that right now and make a good race out of it for Saturday night."


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ARE YOU FEELING A SENSE OF PANIC TO WIN A RACE? HOW ARE YOU GOING TO APPROACH THE LAST THREE RACES OR AT LEAST THE LAST TWO BEFORE RICHMOND IF YOU ARE STILL NOT LOCKED IN BY THEN? "If you look at us right now I would probably say you are right as far as what the points look like. For me being a rookie I don’t have much to lose. There has never been a rookie make the Chase. This would be a great opportunity to do that. I think that we have three solid races we are going to give ourselves that opportunity. Atlanta I’m really looking forward to that weekend. We tested there. This is a good track too. I enjoy this track. I’ve ran well here the last three or four times I’ve been here. I just hope we can find what we found the last few times and that is a good car during the race under race conditions. I haven’t had a ton of speed here leading up to that point. I would like to qualify good because that just puts you in a better spot going forward. This tire seems to lay a lot of rubber down and not chunk so you like Joey (Logano) said there is one groove up there by the wall and it’s pretty hard to come off of that groove. We will see how it goes. I don’t feel a huge sense of urgency. I hope we can put our Dow Chevrolet in the Chase and I think you will see some really good tracks for us during that time. If I could hit the reset button as a rookie right now there are so many more things I would do differently up to this point. It would be nice to have that, but you don’t so you go out and try to finish the season strong. Moving forward next year I wouldn’t want to be in this situation. Hopefully, we have a win or are farther up in points."

THIS IS YOUR FIRST NIGHT RACE AT BRISTOL IN THE CUP SERIES TALK ABOUT THE EMOTIONS OF THAT AND JUST HOW EXCITED YOU ARE: "It’s an intense race. It’s definitely one that creates some drama because it’s at the end of the year and people are looking for that win. The first race here I thought was really racy even though we had the spurts of rain and different things. I don’t know how this tire is going to race so far. We will see how it goes. It’s going to be Bristol baby it’s fun."

YOUR ARE A GUY WHO LIKES TO DO SOME DIRT LATE MODEL AND SOME OTHER RACING. WITH WHAT HAPPENED UP IN NEW YORK WILL THAT CHANGE YOUR ATTITUDE AT ALL ABOUT MAYBE RUNNING AT LOCAL TRACKS WITH GUYS YOU DON’T KNOW? "My car actually was at Bulls Gap last night and Dale McDowell got the win in a Lucas race. That was awesome. I love short track racing. Obviously that is how I got here was short track racing. I think you just go about things. I will still race. That is where my family has made their living. That is racing and hopefully I’m allowed to race. I think NASCAR is doing a great job of creating the best, safest environments for us to race in and I think that will trickle down to all the short tracks around the US. I think all this will be kind of a mandatory deal and I like the way that NASCAR is mandating certain things for us to be safe."

YOU MENTIONED IF YOU HAD THE ABILITY TO HIT THE RESET BUTTON WHAT ARE A FEW OF THE THINGS YOU WOULD DO DIFFERENTLY IF YOU HAD THAT CHANCE? "It’s such a long season. I did the same thing in Truck and Nationwide after the first year. I sat down and had to reevaluate myself at the end of the year. You just have to take it to another level. There is always that level that you have to push yourself to and you don’t realize that level I feel like, at least for me, until you have done it. You have experienced a full year. I was able to come back and win championships in the other two series after our first year. I would love to be able to do that in the Cup Series. I think it’s a possibility. You just have to reset and set goals higher and then also I think as far as keeping your body mentally and physically in shape for the entire year. I feel like I’m physically in shape and been here I think mentally the Cup Series is a draining series because of how long it is. You learn that and you learn how to cope with it. I feel like I’ve figured it out, but there is a lull section of our series where you go through a lot of different tracks and you have to stay focused during that era. Looking back I could probably have improved on those, some of those races and now having a notebook going back for those races is just going to help. Anytime you get experience it is just better."

WERE THERE ANY SITUATIONS YOU SAID ‘BOY I’LL NEVER MAKE THAT MISTAKE AGAIN’? "Oh I’m sure there are. You have certain restarts, certain things you’ve done to the car during practice you wish you would have taken back out. You wish you wouldn’t have said certain things to make changes on the car you just let your crew because they have more experience than you, mine at least do. So there are a lot of things you not really necessarily regret because if you make mistakes you obviously learn from them and that is what the good ones do. I think just having that start over button would have been nice, but that is why you have yellow stripes one the back of your bumper to let everybody know you are learning."

IF YOU MAKE THE CHASE WHAT IS YOUR THINKING ON WHAT THE APPROACH WILL BE? "If we make the Chase I think for us every race is just a go get it, put yourself in that situation you have to beat those other guys. It’s just like racing Sam (Hornish) last year for a championship there is one guy you have to beat. You beat that guy you make it to the next race. You take it one race at a time beating two guys every week and you are going to be in a position as long as you beat those two guys or you don’t have to single out two you have to beat at least two and if you beat the majority of them you are going to be there the next week. It allows you to pick out certain people that you are going to race against. It’s like a head-to-head challenge. It’s you versus that other group of people. You have to beat them. If you do you move on to the next round. It’s pretty cool actually. I would love to be a part of that. I think a lot of mental games come into play when that happens. And the strong always survive."

AS THE SEASON HAS GONE ON THE WHOLE THINGS ABOUT CARRYING THE NO. 3 HAS KIND OF DIED DOWN, BUT BECAUSE THAT NUMBER WAS SO ASSOCIATED WITH THIS NIGHT RACE AT BRISTOL HAVE YOU FELT EITHER PERSONALLY OR THROUGH SOCIAL MEDIA HAVE YOU FELT A SPIKE IN THE INTENSITY OF CARRYING THAT NUMBER IN THIS PARTICULAR RACE? "I feel like the first Bristol race around was pretty intense. It doesn’t matter what track you go to with the number that I carry there is always a little bit of intensity. That is a great thing. It pushes you. And for me I just want to do well everywhere. I want to be up front and there is nowhere I would rather be up front than a race track. For me it is nice having a number that pushes you a little bit. You just go after it each and every week and try and work your hardest to figure out where that speed is that you need. And develop it and try not to make it too hard. It’s still just racing. It’s getting around a track everywhere. A lot of people make it really hard and when you run up front it makes it a lot easier obviously."

YOUR ARE HAVING A GREAT ROOKIE OF THE YEAR BATTLE WITH KYLE LARSON. YOU ARE ACTUALLY AHEAD OF HIM IN POINTS. IT SEEMS LIKE HE GETS AN INORDINATE AMOUNT OF THE ATTENTION. DOES THAT BOTHER YOU? "I think it’s a good rookie battle. They have obviously had speed all year long. It’s kind of been like the tortoise and the hare. We start out at the back of the field and we work our way to the front. And due to mistakes from other people we inherit positions and stay in the race and keep ourselves in the race. I think there is a really cool stat, I think the only stat that we can really hang our hats on this year as far as something really good is, we have ran, knock on wood, the most number of laps out of any car in the field. I think that is very special for us as a rookie. I obviously would want to run further up front more often. But consistency is a good thing. I want to be competing for wins. That is a part of running well, but it is nice to be where we are in points ahead of him. The rookie points I’ve never really quite understood how it works, but it would be a bummer to out run him in points and then finish behind him somehow and it could happen. But he has done a good job of being fast this year and there is a reward for it I guess. There is a speed reward in that. We will go out there and try and finish off this year and beat him outright even with the most points."

WHAT WOULD IT MEAN TO YOU TO GET YOUR FIRST CAREER CUP WIN AT BRISTOL MOTOR SPEEDWAY? "Man, I love this place. You are right here in NASCAR country in the Southeast. I’ve always liked this track and I think it’s just a fun race. I said earlier somebody asked me, they have always asked me if you could picture a dream track where would you put it and where would it be. Just adding to what we have now in NASCAR we go to so many cool places. I thought if they added another style track like Bristol, I mean there is no place like Bristol because it’s the coliseum it’s like an eighth wonder of the world. If you put it in a place like New Orleans or something I think it would be sweet. This is a cool track, a cool venue and there is no other place like it. I think if we could have more of these no one would be up against it for sure."

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