After the Monster Energy NASCAR Cup Series race at Michigan in May, the qualifying results of Austin Dillon and his no. 3 Richard Childress racing team improved dramatically.
Starting with the Coca-Cola 600 at Charlotte Motor Speedway, Dillon made it to the second round or better in 10 of 11 knockout qualifying sessions. What Dillon and his couldn’t do was translate the speed from time trials to race trim.
That changed last Sunday at Michigan, where the winner of the season-opening Daytona 500 qualified fifth and finished fourth. Dillon sees that performance as real progress, not as a one-time improvement.
“Yeah, obviously that was a big run for our team there at RCR and ECR (Earnhardt Childress Racing Engines),” Dillon said. “Everybody back at the shop has been working really hard to turn the Camaro around for our side of things. We have seen some speed from other guys throughout the year and we have been close.”
“We’ve had some qualifying runs that were positive, but we weren’t able to relate it to the race. I think last week we proved that we could relate the speed in qualifying to the race, and that’s huge. Great momentum coming up to some good tracks for us with Bristol, Darlington, finishing with Indy leading into the Playoffs.
“I definitely think if we carry this speed into the Playoffs, we’re going to be in a good spot.”