At Richard Childress Racing, Ryan Newman and young crew chief Luke Lambert have stolen the limelight. They defeated the odds through their Cinderella story championship effort in 2014 that led to a showdown for the title in the closing laps at Homestead with Kevin Harvick. Having gone against the whole ideology of this new “Win and You’re In” chase format and getting to the Championship 4, the 31 Chevrolet has defeated the odds.
Paul Menard is, well, Paul Menard. He is who he is; other than his standout victory at Indianapolis in 2011, he has generally been lackluster. Granted he made the chase in 2015, I do not personally see any signs that he will become somebody new. He shows talent, but there never seems to be any chemistry at the 27 camp.
The third RCR entry – Austin Dillon – on the other hand is showing promise. After a Camping World Truck and Xfinity Series Championships, he has learned a lot and grown as a competitor in NASCAR’s premier series. He is off to the best start of his career, having qualified in the top 20 for each of the first four events and in the top 10 at Atlanta and Vegas. Austin has already piloted his Chevrolet to a top 5 finish and three top ten finishes which has him currently sitting 8th on the Chase Grid.
It has been a long time since the 3 car has been a consistent topic of the garage area – that is regarding speed and competition on the Sprint Cup Series circuit. Crew chief Richard ‘Slugger’ Labbe came atop the pit box midsummer last year and Dillon has shown that his head is clearly in the game. We talk about the Gibbs, Penske, and Hendrick powerhouses while Roush and RCR are poised to become consistent race winning and championship contenders.
The Cup Series this year is perhaps the most competitive it has been in this decade- and Austin Dillon may be right in the mix of it. Granted we are only into week 5; but when you have practically matched your stats for the prior season already, it is hard not to get excited. Austin said on Twitter, “Solid day
@PhoenixRaceway proud of the effort of the #3team we keep putting ourselves in situations like that it’s going to pay off #GiiC“. Keep an eye on this young gun to fly under the radar, into the chase, and perhaps to Homestead as part of the Championship 4 and RCR’s next Cinderella Story. It is time for the rest of the Childress fleet to join in the spot light.