HomeSportsNascarNASCAR: Austin Dillon Says He Was ‘Anything But Clutch’ in Restart at Martinsville

NASCAR: Austin Dillon Says He Was ‘Anything But Clutch’ in Restart at Martinsville

by Caitlin Berard
(Photo by Jeff Robinson/Icon Sportswire via Getty Images)

For Austin Dillon, Saturday’s NASCAR Cup Series race at the Martinsville Speedway was both a major victory and a massive letdown. Though his 3rd place finish was the best in his career at Martinsville, Dillon was so close to the checkered flag he could taste it, he just couldn’t quite catch Joey Logano and Martinsville champion William Byron.

In his post-race interview, Fox Sports correspondent Jamie Little asked Austin Dillon if he was excited or disappointed in his 3rd place finish. “Well, you know, I’m a little bummed,” Dillon replied. “I like to pride myself in when we get in those situations as being clutch, and that was anything but that on that last restart. I spun the tires pretty good through the gears.”

“Once I got back in line there, I had some grip,” Dillon continued. “And I feel like we had good forward drive all night long. I just felt like if we got to the gears we were going to have a shot at him.”

Though he couldn’t deny his disappointment, Dillon also expressed pride in the efforts of the entire No. 3 Richard Childress Racing team. “Our Get Bioethanol Chevy was really fast,” Austin Dillon said. “We’ve been working our tails off. I’m not going to say we haven’t because we’ve been in a simulator, we’ve been working really hard to make this car as good as possible.”

“We want to get RCR a win, and that’s what we’re here racing for,” Dillon concluded. “I want to shout out to my wife and Ace back at home and thank the good Lord for bringing us a good run. That was a lot of fun.”

Austin Dillon Says NASCAR Next Gen Car is Fine on Short Tracks

In a separate post-race interview, Austin Dillon was asked about the Next Gen stock cars’ capabilities in Martinsville, as some believe the Gen-7 car simply doesn’t perform well on short tracks. Rather than blaming the Next Gen cars for the passing difficulties experienced by the drivers, Dillon said it was mostly due to the weather.

“I came from, like, ten back and was able to pass a lot of cars – at the end of tire wear,” Dillon said. “It was only with 10 (laps) to go. It took a very long time. When it gets hot and slick it’s going to be a different race. Some people will probably want a different tire, it’s going to change drastically with the weather.”

When told of the opinion that the Gen-7 cars weren’t built for short tracks, Dillon responded, “I don’t think that’s true at all. I mean, you saw what happened at that colosseum. That was a great race. I don’t agree with that, I just think, you know, it’s a night race in [Martinsville]. What is it, 38 degrees? I mean, I’m freezing.”

“You can have great racing at places that have tire fall-off,” Austin Dillon continued. “Martinsville has tire fall-off, but it’s usually when the rubber is able to lay down and it’s hot outside. You didn’t see a rubber build up tonight. When the rubber builds up next time we come, it’ll be different.”