Uncut with Jay Cutler: Paul Swan Talks Winning the 2018 Daytona 500 as Part of Austin Dillon’s Pit Crew

by Chris Haney

Every NASCAR driver, pit crew, crew chief, and team owner wants to win at Daytona International Speedway. Only so many teams can claim to have ever experienced what it’s like to celebrate a Daytona 500 win on Victory Lane. This week on Uncut with Jay Cutler, we had NASCAR driver Austin Dillon’s best friend and lead tire handler of his pit crew, Paul Swan, on the podcast. During his appearance, Swan opened up about his NASCAR career, and shared his experience of being part of Dillon’s Daytona 500-winning team in 2018.

Paul Swan had an interesting path to making it on Dillon’s pit crew. He started out as a football player chasing his NFL dreams as a linebacker at Bowling Green State University. After he didn’t receive much interest from scouts on his Pro Day, his former football coach got him a tryout with NASCAR’s Richard Childress Racing.

In the beginning, Swan started at the bottom of the totem pole like anyone else. Yet with hard work and patience, he worked his way up. By 2017, he found a spot on Dillon’s pit crew and he’s been there ever since. In fact, he got to be part of Dillon’s huge Daytona victory in 2018. It made it that much more special that it was the first time in 20 years that the No. 3 car won at the legendary track. The last person to do it in the No. 3 car? The “Intimidator” himself – Dale Earnhardt.

“So 2018, with Austin, you guys win the Daytona 500,” host Jay Cutler said to Paul Swan.

“Yea, baby!” Swan said with a big smile.

“Basically, it’s the Super Bowl of NASCAR. What was that like?” Cutler asked.

“Dude, that was one of the most incredible things ever,” Swan answered. “We won the race, and that was my first Cup [Series] win, and we ran to Victory Lane. Just seeing, like, the whole big Daytona backdrop with all the fans still in the stands. All the cameras and people in Victory Lane, because that was a big deal. That was the 3 car winning at Daytona. And it had been 20 years since Dale Earnhardt won the Daytona 500 in the 3 car. So it was super special, super huge. And man it was like, this is surreal.”

Paul Swan Opens Up About His Team’s Daytona 500 Celebrations on ‘Uncut with Jay Cutler’

Like host Jay Cutler said, winning the Daytona 500 is NASCAR’s equivalent of winning a Lombardi Trophy in the NFL. To say the victory is going to lead to an enormous celebration afterward is an understatement. And Austin Dillon, Paul Swan, and the rest of their team didn’t disappoint.

The pit crew member went on to share more about their night after taking the checkered flag at the famous Florida race track. Of course, there were plenty of drinks to be had that night. And that led to some hilariously great decisions, like getting tattoos in places you can’t see.

“Then that night, buddy, we went so hard,” Swan said of partying after their huge Daytona win. “We got some tattoos on a location that’s covered up most of the time. And it’s funny, we did this interview on NASCAR’s YouTube page. We went to like this champions breakfast the morning after and we were all hungover. We were still drunk, and I got there and they interviewed me. My voice just sounds so raspy, so hoarse. I’ll send you the interview after this, it’s hilarious.”

Paul Swan talks about that and much more during this week’s new episode of the podcast. Make sure to check out his full conversation with host Jay Cutler in the link below, or tune in and listen to Uncut with Jay Cutler on Spotify, Apple, or wherever else you listen to your favorite podcasts.