Austin Dillon Can't Get Enough' of Martinsville Speedway
Wednesday February 21, 2018
According to Richard Childress, it goes back to Austin and Ty Dillon’s days racing Bandoleros. Their mother had to separate them in the back seat during a long ride home from Cincinnati, Ohio to North Carolina. Their competitive nature overwhelmed sibling love, at least for the moment.
That competitive nature has served the duo well at Martinsville Speedway, a half mile that demands a willingness to ruffle the feathers of teammates, siblings and rivals alike.
Recently etched into the history books as winners of the 2018 Daytona 500, Austin and Childress are now focusing on the STP 500 at Martinsville Speedway, a race that has seen the 27 year-old post top-5 finishes in consecutive seasons.
“Martinsville is awesome. It is all the drama in the world,” Austin said. “You can’t get enough of it. I wish there were 1,000 Martinsvilles. Beating and banging is a lot of fun.”
Childress noted that Austin’s background on dirt tracks has helped him adapt at Martinsville.
“Austin really likes Martinsville. I think a lot of that comes from running short-tracks back in the day and running a lot of dirt,” Childress said. “You have to have a little car control at Martinsville, especially how to work the throttle and work the brakes and I think he just got accustomed to that from other styles of racing. He really enjoys it. He has a good time there.”
That sibling rivalry could lead to an interesting moment for Richard Childress the grandfather if Austin and Ty ever find themselves up front during the late stages of a race at the Half Mile of Mayhem.
“I think that when it came down to the end of the race if those two were racing each other they’d be aggressive with each other,” Childress said. “They’re very competitive.”
Austin and Ty confirmed Childress’ suspicions when asked if they would spin each other with a grandfather clock trophy on the line.
“If I’m behind Ty with three (laps) to go am I dumping him for the win? I’d wreck about anybody for the win,” Austin said. “Especially at Martinsville to get one of those grandfather clocks and put the 3 back in victory lane. Mom probably wouldn’t talk to me for a while, but maybe she would get over it.”
Ty’s answer was also definitive, and came before the end of the question.
“I’m going to move Austin to win the race. Sorry. He knows it. I know it. It’s going to happen,” Ty said. “No doubt. I don’t care (if mom is mad). Sorry mom, you’ll get over it. Austin, you’ll get over it. But I am going to win the race.”
When it comes to Childress wearing a car owner hat, however, he said he always looks forward to the quick trip across the border from his home in Welcome, NC to Martinsville.
“I’ve always enjoyed going to Martinsville. I always think about the fun trips. It was always just fun,” Childress said. “All our cars have run pretty well up there through history.”
The Dillons and Childress will arrive in Martinsville in just a few weeks with their sights set on a victory in the STP 500.
The STP 500 weekend presented by whosyourdriver.org is March 23-25.
The weekend starts with a practice day for the truck series on Friday, followed by the cup series Hauler Parade.
On Saturday, the NASCAR Camping World Truck Series is in action with the Alpha Energy Solutions 250. Following the race the Monster Energy NASCAR Cup Series will qualify for Sunday’s STP 500.
The STP 500 is the first Monster Energy NASCAR Cup Series Race on the East Coast, after the “West Coast Swing” and the first short-track race of the season. Last year, Brad Keselowski won the race, becoming the first driver to win in a Ford at Martinsville since 2002.
Youth 17-and-under are free on Friday and Saturday and $25 on Sunday.