Tag:Austin Dillon
Posted on: February 10, 2012 2:31 pm
Edited on: February 10, 2012 2:43 pm

2012 Camping World Truck Series season preview

By Pete Pistone

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(Austin Dillon's move to the NWS opens the door for younger brother Ty to drive the championship-winning truck)

There will be a definite new-look to the NASCAR Camping World Truck Series in 2012. 

But that’s not necessarily a bad thing. 

Although former long-time organizations like Kevin Harvick Inc., Roush Fenway Racing or Germain Racing no longer participate in the truck series, several other teams have entered the fray to create an interesting landscape for the coming year, setting the tone for what should be a very competitive campaign. 

Team owners Kevin and DeLana Harvick decided to dissolve their highly successful KHI operation last year but the remnants of the team are alive and well in other locations. 

Richard Childress Racing acquired much of KHI’s assets for both its Nationwide and NCWTS programs and is set to defend its 2011 truck series title with a pair of full-time entries piloted by Ty Dillon, younger brother of last year’s champ, Austin, and Joey Coulter

The team will also field a third truck with Brendan Gaughan, Elliott Sadler and Harvick rotating rides behind the wheel to complete a very potent line-up. 

"I've got the trucks that won a championship last year, so I have all the resources and the ability to do it," said Ty Dillon, who inherits the No. 3 truck ride his brother piloted to the 2011 crown. "I have confidence in myself and my guys that we can go out there and get it done. It's just going to be overcoming our bad days and making them good." 

The younger Dillon turned in a successful ARCA Series effort last year as well as making a handful of truck starts. He believes he’s ready to take the next step in his career. 

“I learned a lot last year and have a great deal of resources and support at my fingertips,” Dillon said. “I’m looking forward to taking this challenge on full-time this season.” 

While RCR found a home for some of the previous KHI properties, Eddie Sharp Racing also wound up with much of the team’s equipment. 

Sharp took over KHI’s No. 8 and No. 33 trucks from last season, which were driven by Nelson Piquet Jr. and Ron Hornaday, and added them to his own entry to create a three-truck stable for 2012. 

Justin Lofton and Cale Gale team up in the operation’s full season program while former truck champ Mike Skinner has inked a deal to drive the third entry in the Daytona season opener. 

Sharp thinks the addition of the veteran Skinner to his effort at Daytona will help his goal of building the race team for the future. 

"ESR has made a significant investment over the winter and the vision is to have three full time teams," said Sharp. "We have two down and one to go, and now with the opportunity to race Daytona with Mike, we're inching closer to that happening. The goal is to keep Mike in the truck all year and run for a championship. If you miss Daytona winning a championship is no longer possible-you have to be there." 

ThorSport Racing will also support a three-truck program for 2012 in hopes of capturing its first series title. One of the longest-tenured teams in the series, the ThorSport trio of Johnny Sauter, Matt Crafton and former USAC star Dakoda Armstrong is set to compete for the championship. 

“This team is committed to getting the crown this season,” said Crafton, who starts his twelfth season with the team in 2012. “The ingredients are there for all three of us to have solid years. We had fast trucks last season but unfortunately ran into more than a few speed bumps along the way that we hope we’ll avoid this year. Confidence is pretty high right now for this race team.” 

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(Hornaday's 2011 season with KHI included his controversial incident with Kyle Busch at Texas Motor Speedway)

As it is for Joe Denette Motorsports, another organization that is sporting a different look in 2012. 

Four-time series champ Hornaday and young Max Gresham will team up for the organization, owned by Denette who struck a fortune when he won the Virginia State Lottery a couple of years ago and bought himself a race team. 

Hornaday is hoping to hit the jackpot again this year with an unprecedented fifth series championship. 

“It’s impressive how much this race team has come together in a relative short period of time since I can on board,” said Hornaday, who spent last year with KHI. “There’s no reason we cannot contend for multiple wins and the championship this year and I’m really excited about the future with Joe Denette Motorsports.” 

Hornaday of course was involved in last year’s celebrated incident with Kyle Busch during the Texas truck race. After Busch ran Hornaday into the wall under caution after the two had already made contact, NASCAR parked Busch for the remaining Nationwide and Sprint Cup races that weekend. 

While Busch will still operate his Kyle Busch Motorsports team he will only drive a select number of Nationwide races and sit out the truck season portion of the program. 

Former Turner Motorsports driver Jason Leffler will drive the KBM No. 18 race in at least 14 races with sponsorship dictating how many more events the truck will compete. 

"As a racer, your ultimate goal is to win races, and driving the No. 18 Dollar General Tundra for KBM is definitely an opportunity where I expect to achieve that goal," said Leffler, who has made 46 career truck series starts. "Kyle has put together a first-class organization that builds top-notch equipment. I'm honored that he has the confidence in me as a driver to come in and carry on the winning tradition that his team has established.” 

There are a number of other teams planning to make an impact in 2012 including Turner Motorsports, which will compete with Piquet Jr., James Buescher and Miguel Paludo for the full campaign, Red Horse Racing’s combo of Timothy Peters and rookie John King with veteran Todd Bodine in a Daytona entry and Brad Keselowski’s truck team with Parker Kligerman behind the wheel.

Although the series schedule has dropped to 22 events, NASCAR expects that number to climb back to the traditional 25 races in the near future. A first-time visit to historic Rockingham Speedway, which had hosted the Sprint Cup Series racing until 2003, is a highlight of this year's slate.

There may not be as many races to watch this year but the competition level in the Camping World Truck Series has the potential to be very high.

For more NASCAR news, rumors and analysis, follow @PPistone on Twitter, subscribe to the RSS feed     

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Posted on: December 23, 2011 1:41 pm

Bass Pro to sponsor Dillon brothers

Posted By Pete Pistone

From News Release

Bass Pro Shops will continue its partnership with Richard Childress Racing in 2012, serving as a primary sponsor of both Austin Dillon’s No. 3 Chevrolet Impala in the NASCAR Nationwide Series and Ty Dillon’s No. 3 Chevrolet Silverado in the NASCAR Camping World Truck Series.

Bass Pro Shops/Tracker Boats will be the primary sponsor throughout the year on the No. 3 truck during Ty Dillon’s first full season in the series. The No. 1 outdoor retailer leader will also be the primary sponsor for five races of Austin Dillon’s rookie season in the Nationwide Series and an associate sponsor throughout the season.

“We are pleased to once again partner with our good friend and hunting buddy Richard Childress for the 2012 racing season,” stated Bass Pro Shops founder Johnny Morris. “Austin and Ty are both remarkably talented racers with a promising future ahead of them. They are also tremendous ambassadors for the outdoors and hunting and fishing. I look forward to seeing them both race and hopefully spending a little time with them and grandpa out hunting or fishing.”

The RCR/Bass Pro Shops partnership began in 1998 as an associate sponsor of RCR’s No. 3 GM Goodwrench Chevrolet Monte Carlo with legendary driver Dale Earnhardt. The relationship continued with Kevin Harvick and the No 29 Chevrolet and, in 2004, Kerry Earnhardt, Dale’s eldest son, drove RCR’s No. 33 Bass Pro Shops Chevrolet Monte Carlo in six Sprint Cup Series races. Austin Dillon picked up the mantle in 2010, earning two victories and the Truck Series Rookie of the Year honors before capturing the championship in just his second season in the series. Bass Pro Shops/Tracker Boats also was a sponsor for Ty Dillon’s championship season in the 2011 ARCA Series presented by Menards.

“The continuation of the Bass Pro Shops/Tracker Boats partnership with my grandsons is rewarding, both professionally and personally,” said Richard Childress, president and CEO of Richard Childress Racing. “We are proud to fly the Bass Pro Shops and Tracker Boats banner in the NASCAR Nationwide Series and NASCAR Camping World Truck Series and look forward to being successful with both race teams.”

Bass Pro Shops was founded in 1972 and is headquartered in Springfield, Mo. The outdoor retail leader has 58 stores throughout the United States and Canada, serving over 112 million sportsmen a year.

“I’m a hunter and a fisherman so it’s really cool to have the support of Bass Pro Shops and Tracker Boats,” said Austin Dillon. “It means a lot to me that Johnny Morris and everyone at Bass Pro are going to follow me to the NASCAR Nationwide Series. We were able to win some races for them and a championship in theTruck Series so I hope we can find them continued success in the Nationwide Series this year.”

“It’s an honor to be a part of the Bass Pro Shops family,” said Ty Dillon. “I’m really excited that they will be embarking on my first full season in the Truck Series with me. Johnny Morris and Bass Pro Shops/Tracker Boats have been a huge part of my career and my goal is to bring them as much success as my brother, Austin, did these past two seasons.” 

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Posted on: November 4, 2011 1:36 pm
Edited on: November 4, 2011 1:45 pm

Earnhardt's '3' to Nationwide Series with Dillon

By Pete Pistone

(Dillon will bring back the famous number "3" to the Nationwide Series in 2012 - Photo courtesy TMS)

The iconic number "3" made famous by Dale Earnhardt will run in the Nationwide Series next season courtesy of Richard Childress and grandson Austin Dillon.

Childress announced at a press conference Friday morning at Texas Motor Speedway that Dillon would move up from the Camping World Truck Series to the Nationwide Series in 2012 and carry the same number of seven-time Sprint Cup champion Earnhardt.

AdvoCare will sponsor Dillon for twenty events on the schedule next season as RCR returns to the division on a full-time basis.

“We are excited to have AdvoCare on board as Austin makes the full time step into the NASCAR Nationwide Series in 2012 driving the No. 3 Chevrolet,” said Childress. We look forward to working closely with them and the other partners on the No. 3 team to build a competitive and successful program.” 

RCR has a fairly successful history competing in NASCAR's number two division.  

The team has earned 56 victories and five series championships since its first season in 2000. Kevin Harvick won overall championships (driver and owner) in 2001 and 2006, Harvick and Johnny Sauter won the owner championship in 2003, Jeff Burton and Scott Wimmer won the owner championship in 2007 and Clint Bowyer won the driver championship in 2008.

Dillon leads the Camping World Truck Series by eleven points heading into Friday night's WinStar World Casino 350 at Texas. 

Although he has driven the number three in truck competition, Childress said the decision to move it up to the Nationwide Series was taken lightly.

"The three has so much winning tradition, and Dale made that number famous," Childress said. "I know he'd be proud to see (Dillon) run it."

But Childress said truth be told the idea wasn't his own but rather that of Dillon's.

"Austin said, 'Pop-Pop, I want to use your number,'" Childress explained. "I said, 'Austin, that was my number, but Dale made the number famous.' He said, 'Well, it's still your number. I want to run your number.'

"How you going to tell your grandkid no on something?"

Childress said Friday that he has no intention of taking the "3" back into the Sprint Cup Series.
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Posted on: October 13, 2011 6:35 pm

Richard Childress confirms three cars in 2012

By Pete Pistone

Richard Childress will shrink his full-time Sprint Cup Series stable to three entries in 2012.

Clint Bowyer's departure and the lack of sufficient sponsorship to keep the No. 33 Chevrolet on track means RCR will go back to a three car effort after expanding two years ago to add a fourth team to the organization.

It was just we knew what our financial model was and Clint knew where he needed to be and we just couldn’t ever come together to make it work. We had the car completely sponsored but it just didn’t really work out and I’m very sad that it didn’t because I really like Clint. He’s going to be a great driver. Never say never; hopefully he will be back some day at RCR.”

“Right now we’re looking at three Cup cars with an occasional Cup race," Childress said. "Who knows what may come up between now and then? I’ve had offers to race people and race drivers and had another full sponsorship with a driver; I just want to make sure it’s the right move when we make it. So we’re still as of right now, we’re three Cup teams.”

Childress will field an occasional entry for grandson Austin Dillon, who made his Sprint Cup debut last week with a 26th place finish at Kansas Speedway. The team owner is comfortable with sponsorship being in place for Dillon's full-time Nationwide Series effort as well as Ty Dillon's full Camping World Truck Series program in 2012.

“We’re down the road pretty good with all of that," Childress said. "Like I said earlier we feel pretty good about where RCR is in the future with the sponsors we have over the next two or three years. Couldn’t be happier with a lot of things on the front for RCR sponsorship wise, employee wise and the direction that we are going.”

Childress said he is committed to finding seat time for Austin in the Sprint Cup Series next year even if he has to go outside the organization. 

 “I’m sure if we don’t have a team we may stick Austin in another car one or two times," Childress said. "We’ve got a couple of other people that said hey we want to run. If we see it’s the right opportunity for a change that we can test something or look at a driver or something we may do that.”

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Posted on: October 5, 2011 11:14 am

Austin Dillon ready for Kansas Sprint Cup debut

Posted by Pete Pistone

From News Release

The Ronald Reagan Presidential Foundation's Centennial Celebration will be commemorated by Austin Dillon's NASCAR Sprint Cup Series debut driving the #98 Curb Agajanian/Reagan Centennial/Camping World/Curb Records Chevy in the Oct. 9 Hollywood Casino 400 at Kansas Speedway. The original announcement of the program was made March 27 at Auto Club Speedway. The Ronald Reagan Centennial is a historic, year-long celebration to commemorate the 100th birthday of the 40th President of the United States of America. A series of substantive and celebratory events, partnerships, and initiatives sponsored by the Ronald Reagan Presidential Foundation are planned throughout 2011, including the Ronald Reagan tribute album which is being released nationally by Curb Records in connection with the Kansas race. Dillon currently leads the 2011 NASCAR Camping World Truck Series point standings with five races remaining in just his second full season in the series [in the #3 RCR Chevy truck]. Dillon finished fifth in the 2010 NCWTS point standings and was named rookie of-the-year. He recently equaled his win total from last year with his second victory of the season, in the Sept. 25 Fast Five 225 at Chicagoland. His NCWTS pit crew, led by crew chief Danny Stockman, will serve in the same roles for the NASCAR Sprint Cup Series race. The Kansas Speedway race by Dillon will be the 100th NASCAR Sprint Cup Series start for car co-owner Mike Curb and Curb-Agajanian Racing.
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Posted on: September 19, 2011 11:17 am
Edited on: September 19, 2011 11:21 am

Richard Childress Racing faces changes

By Pete Pistone

JOLEIT, Ill. - Richard Childress Racing has one driver in this year's Chase for the Sprint Cup with Kevin Harvick but the organization is busy working on several other fronts.

Team owner Richard Childress has not closed the door completely on bringing Clint Bowyer back to the fold despite rumors of the driver having a potential deal with Michael Waltrip Racing and sponsor 5-Hour Energy.

"Honestly, we're still trying today,'' Childress said to ESPN. "We both agreed if an opportunity comes for him he needs to take it. But yes, we're still trying to put something together this week and last week.''

Should Bowyer leave the team, Childress is still pursuing the possibility of keeping the No. 33 entry on track next year with a different driver. Sponsorship will play the determining role.

Childress hasn't ruled out putting his grandson Austin Dillon in a handful of Sprint Cup Series races in the car either. Dillon will move from the Camping World Truck Series to the Nationwide Series for a full season in 2012.

Childress' other grandson Ty will run a truck series schedule next season.

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Posted on: August 9, 2011 10:48 pm
Edited on: August 10, 2011 9:11 am

Johnny Sauter penalized and loses truck lead

Posted by Pete Pistone

NASCAR Camping World Truck Series point leader Johnny Sauter was docked six points for failing post race inspection after Sunday's race at Pocono Raceway. That drops him from the top spot, one point behind new leader Austin Dillon. NASCAR also announced penalties in the Nationwide Series as well:

From News Release

The No. 13 team that competes in the NASCAR Camping World Truck Series was penalized Tuesday as a result of rules violations committed this past weekend. The No. 13 truck was found to be in violation of Sections 12-1 (actions detrimental to stock car racing); 12-4-J (any determination by NASCAR Officials that the race equipment used in the event does not conform to NASCAR rules); and 20B-12.8.1D (truck failed to meet maximum right rear bed panel height) of the 2011 NASCAR rule book. As a result, crew chief Joe Shear has been fined $5,000 while driver Johnny Sauter and owner Mike Curb have been penalized with the loss of six championship driver and owner points, respectively. The violation was discovered during post-race inspection Aug. 7 at Pocono Raceway. [As a result of NASCAR penalizing the #13 team six driver points respectively, #3-Austin Dillon moves to the top of the point standings, with Sauter moving to second. Just one point separates the two.]

The two Nationwide Series teams were found with lug nuts that were less than the minimum specified thickness during pre-qualifying inspection Aug. 6 at Iowa Speedway.

Crew chiefs Michael Kelley of RFR, who works with driver Ricky Stenhouse Jr., and Gary Cogswell of TriStar (Eric McClure) have each been fined $2,500 and placed on probation until Sept. 21.  Stenhouse won Saturday's race while McClure finished 26th.

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