HAMPTON, Ga. – What’s next?
That’s the question that confronts Austin Dillon after last Sunday’s last-lap victory in the 60th Daytona 500, NASCAR’s most important and prestigious race.
That triumph gave Dillon wins in two of NASCAR’s “majors.” Last year, he picked up his inaugural victory in the Monster Energy NASCAR Cup Series in the Coca-Cola 600 at Charlotte and qualified for the postseason Playoff for the second straight season.
So, again, what’s next, now that Dillon has knocked two gigantic items off the bucket list?
The obvious choice is a series title. As a former champion in the NASCAR Xfinity and Camping World Truck Series, Dillon is the only driver currently eligible to be the first to complete the trifecta. That’s something the driver of the No. 3 Richard Childress Racing Chevrolet already has thought about in depth.
“I definitely have thought about that,” Dillon said on Friday at Atlanta Motor Speedway, site of Sunday’s Folds of Honor Quik Trip 500 (2 p.m. ET on FOX). “That’s my goal is to be the first to win all three. I feel like that would be a heck of an accomplishment. I’ve thought about it a lot this week. After you win a huge race like that, what’s next?
“In my eyes, that’s the next goal. That’s what we need to go to work on hard this year, because we’ve already got a great opportunity with the way the Playoffs work as being locked in.”
Daytona is a restrictor-plate superspeedway, and conventional wisdom says the “real” open-motor season starts with the Monster Energy race at Atlanta. Dillon believes his team is prepared to run well at the intermediate speedways, too.
“We’ll just keep rocking it however we can,” Dillon said. “We still have a lot to work on. We want to make this Camaro ZL1 good at all tracks. We’re looking forward to that. Been excited about it.
“It’s a great start to the season. It definitely gets the momentum going. We just need to keep pounding.”