Winning a race in NASCAR is a big, big deal, in part because it’s so challenging. Every race, only one driver wins and 38 or 39 don’t, making the odds of winning difficult at best. And when you finally win for the first time, it’s something you both celebrate and remember all of your life.
So when Austin Dillon finally broke through last Sunday night and won his first Monster Energy NASCAR Cup Series race in 133 starts, a lot of cool things happened, especially since it was the first Cup victory for the No. 3 in a Cup race since the late Dale Earnhardt won at Talladega on Oct. 15, 2000.
Suffice to say, it was a long time coming.
Here are six of the best perks Dillon got to enjoy for winning the Coca-Cola 600 at Charlotte Motor Speedway.
Naturally, Dillon got lots of props from friends, teammates and fellow competitors for winning. “I don’t think I have slowed down enough yet to really just know that I’m a NASCAR Cup Series winner,” said Dillon. “It sunk in a couple of times like those opportunities I’ve had with my grandfather and the race team. Those are the most special times, but going through my phone and Twitter, I’m still kind of going through my phone right now and thanking people. That is cool.”
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The indoor burnout
Yep, the post-race party included Dillon doing a burnout in his gold-wrapped Camaro while inside his barn. And Dillon said the barn continues to carry the order of burning rubber from him lighting up the tires in the car. “That was the first one and the clothes still stink,” said Dillon. “The funny thing is, that’s not my garage, that’s actually my house. That’s where I live. I’m glad my fiancée loves me a whole lot.”
The team talk
Dillon said he got worked up addressing the team members at Richard Childress Racing, the team owned by his grandfather. “I got to speak in front of the whole company and that was probably the most emotional I got was just thanking those guys who have always been there for me,” said Dillon. “I told them this is what it’s all about and all the hard work and effort they have put in and the support of myself throughout all of my racing career and just seeing some of those faces it was really cool to share that with them and have victory lane there at the shop. We kind of recreated it that was awesome.”
At an airport in New York City, Dillon ran into Indianapolis 500 winner Takuma Sato and the two got to meet and swap stories. “We walked through the airport and one of the guys said, ‘Hey, I think that is Takuma Sato,’” said Dillon. “He was walking actually out to the plane and we were like, ‘Man we’ve got to get a picture with him.’ … We got a couple of pictures, showed off our rings to each other. That was cool. He was a really nice guy and you could tell he was just jacked about the win at Indy.”
At a celebratory dinner in New York City, Richard Childress led a toast to his grandson Dillon. “He (Childress) bought a bottle of champagne and he said, ‘Let’s toast to the Coca-Cola 600 champion,’” said Dillon. “That was pretty emotional and cool to hear my grandfather do that and kind of nod his head at me. It felt good.”
Dillon got to take his grandfather to New York City to ring the closing bell at the New York Stock Exchange. “Closing the bell was really special and getting to do that with my grandfather that was the first time or his (Childress’) only time doing that,” said Dillon. “It was cool to give him something that he had never done and that is hard to do, because my grandfather has done a whole lot.”