Austin Dillon won the 60th running of the Daytona 500 last Sunday in spectacular fashion, spinning race leader Aric Almirola in the third corner of the final lap to cross the line in first. Almirola, in the No. 10 Ford Fusion of Stewart-Haas Racing, had been blocking Dillon’s No. 3 Richard Childress Racing Chevrolet Camaro ZL1 when Dillon tapped the race leader in the rear right corner, sending him into the wall.
Austin Dillon is a member of NASCAR royalty, being the grandson of Richard Childress, son of former driver/current Richard Childress Racing General Manager Matt Dillon, and older brother of racer Ty Dillon. The number 3 worn on his car is most readily associated with Dale Earnhardt Sr., although before it was his number, it belonged to Richard Childress himself.
Dillon accomplished his first win in the Monster Energy NASCAR Cup series last year at the Coca-Cola 600 at Charlotte Motor Speedway, but his win at Daytona is arguably more meaningful. “I said [after] my first win I couldn’t beat it,” Dillon says. “But this does. My grandfather has done everything for me. Everybody knows it. There is a lot of pressure on me to perform, because I’ve had a little bit of everything. But I like that pressure. The same with the No. 3. There is a lot of pressure behind that.”
At the same time, Dillon sympathized with Aric Almirola for the contact that cost the No. 10 Stewart-Haas Racing driver his chance at winning. “I did what I had to do there at the end,” Dillon said after the race. “I hate it for the No. 10 guys. We had a run, and I stayed in the gas. It is what it is here at Daytona.”
Dillon’s win is a big payoff for Chevrolet, which just changed over from its old SS design to the new Camaro ZL1 for the 2018 season. Another four Chevrolet Camaro ZL1s ended the Daytona 500 in the top ten: Darrell “Bubba” Wallace Jr. (No. 43, Richard Petty Motorsports) in second, Chris Buescher (No. 37, JTG Daugherty Racing) in fifth, Ryan Newman (No. 31, Richard Childress Racing) in eighth, and A,J, Allmendinger (No. 47, Richard Childress Racing) in tenth.