This Week’s Bass Pro Shops / TRACKER Off Road Camaro ZL1 at Bristol Motor Speedway Dirt … Dillon has one previous NASCAR Cup Series start on the Bristol Motor Speedway dirt track configuration, finishing 21st in the inaugural event last season.
Winner, Winner … Dillon has won at Bristol Motor Speedway on both the paved and dirt configurations. In addition to winning a NASCAR Xfinity Series race at the track in August 2016 (paved), Dillon was among the first drivers to compete on the track’s dirt surface in 2021. He won two features and a heat race in dominating fashion in a 604 Crate Late Model for Corey Hedgecock Racing.
An Ace on Dirt … Dillon first began racing dirt late models in 2006 as the natural progression in his career after starting out in legend cars and bandoleros. Under the tutelage of Shane and Dale McDowell, notable dirt racing victories include the All-Star Shootout at the Dirt Track at Charlotte Motor Speedway (May 2009 and May 2007).
Tracker Off Road ... Dillon’s No. 3 Chevrolet Camaro ZL1 prominently features TRACKER ATVs, a game-changing new line of all-terrain vehicles and side-by-sides offering breakthrough performance, service and value in the off-road industry. TRACKER OFF ROAD was born out of a powerhouse partnership formed between Bass Pro Shops and TRACKER founder Johnny Morris and Textron Specialized Vehicles, bringing together the undisputed world leader in boating with a global leader in innovation and technology.
Bass Pro Shops ... Bass Pro Shops is North America's premier outdoor and conservation company. Founded in 1972 when avid young angler Johnny Morris began selling tackle out of his father's liquor store in Springfield, Missouri, today the company provides customers with unmatched offerings spanning premier destination retail, outdoor equipment manufacturing, world-class resort destinations and more. In 2017 Bass Pro Shops acquired Cabela's to create a "best-of-the-best" experience with superior products, dynamic locations and outstanding customer service. Bass Pro Shops also operates White River Marine Group, offering an unsurpassed collection of industry-leading boat brands, and Big Cedar Lodge, America's Premier Wilderness Resort. Under the visionary conservation leadership of Johnny Morris, Bass Pro Shops is a national leader in protecting habitat and introducing families to the outdoors and has been named by Forbes as "one of America's Best Employers." Bass Pro Shops has a long relationship with NASCAR, dating back to 1998. For more information, visit http://www.basspro.com/.
Double-Duty … In addition to competing in this weekend’s NASCAR Cup Series race at Bristol Motor Speedway, Dillon is scheduled to race in the NASCAR Truck Series for Young’s Motorsports on Saturday, which airs live on Saturday, April 16 at 8 p.m. ET on FS1. Dillon is the 2011 NASCAR Truck Series Champion and a seven-time winner in the series.
AUSTIN DILLON QUOTES:
Do you circle the dirt race at Bristol Motor Speedway on your calendar as one of the most anticipated races of the season for your team?
“I’m excited to get the new Next Gen Chevy to Bristol Motor Speedway to see how it runs on the dirt, especially with the independent rear suspension. It’ll be fun to have something a little bit different. There was a test last week and it looked pretty fun. I was hoping they would take the windshields out of the cars, but it was a little late in the game to make that decision. Maybe they will be able to do it the next time around, because then we could have a little bit of a happier track. It won’t be so dry.”
What are you doing to prepare for the Bristol Motor Speedway dirt race?
"I talked to my good buddy Dale McDowell. He was influential in my dirt racing career growing up and helped teach me how to race on dirt. Dale won a $50,000 to win late model race at Bristol a couple of weeks back, so I’ve been picking his brain on what he thought about the track and what we need to be good. A lot of what Dale has told me aligns with the asphalt track that we run at Bristol. He mentioned that it gets tight off Turn 2 and that it’s a different radius than Turns 3 and 4. When you look at an overview photo of Bristol, it looks the same on each side, but that’s not the case. In Turns 3 and 4 you have a lot more exit room, and it’s always been that way. Turns 1 and 2 are rough and it’s a little bit tighter on exit to Turn 2. You need a car that is able to rotate off of Turn 2. The track characteristics are similar to what you see when you’re running the asphalt track, but it’s going to be a different compound on the track. I love the dirt stuff, so it will be fun. I’m running the NASCAR Truck Series race, too, so it will be good to get a little bit more experience with the track and the transitions it takes. I’m looking forward to seeing how it turns out.”
Did you learn anything in the Bristol Motor Speedway dirt race last year that you can carry over to this year’s race?
“I had a blast doing it last year, even though we really weren’t that good. I probably took too much on myself as a dirt racer trying to crew chief the car. I think this time we’re just going to let the crew chief do his job and crew chief and I’ll stick to driving the car to see how that turns out.”
Is the Bristol dirt race especially fun for the teams ?
“Bristol Dirt is a fun race for the mechanics, crew chiefs and engineers because it’s just a fun way to race to bring everything back to your short track roots and have the chance to work on the cars during the breaks. Everyone is slinging stuff and trying to find some speed and exploring ways to improve the car in ways that you wouldn’t normally get to go about it when you’re at a normal NASCAR race. I’ve always enjoyed this event because it feels more like an exhibition, but we get points and the chance to make the NASCAR Playoffs so we want to run well and try to keep this streak of top-10 finishes going, and maybe even come home with a W.”
Is there anything you do differently to prepare for racing on dirt?
“You start sealing up your helmet a little bit more than you would any other weekend because it’s pretty dusty with it staying as dry as it does on the dirt. Anything you can do to clean the windshield off. Some people change their steering wheel. Mine is going to stay the same. I started off the race last year with a smaller steering wheel in practice but ended up going back to my regular wheel that I use every weekend. The rack should help the steering. With this car being as quick with the steering, It should help. I’ve always thought having quick steering on dirt is a good thing so that you can catch it and drive it a little bit differently.”