Notebook: Busy Dillon; Vickers two in a row?
July 20, 2013, Jerry Bonkowski, Special to the NASCAR Wire Service, NASCAR.com
Austin Dillon to run four races in the next week
Wednesday, he climbs back into a truck for the first time since he won the 2011 Camping World Truck Series championship to compete in the first-ever trucks race on dirt in the CarCash Mudsummer Classic presented by CNBC Prime's The Profit (9 p.m. ET, SPEED) at Eldora Speedway.
"I'm really excited," Dillon said. "I feel like we'll have a shot to win. Eldora is a place I grew up dirt racing on, set the pole for the World 100 once and feel like it's an unbelievable opportunity that NASCAR is giving us drivers to go and run on dirt. I'm looking forward to it and I think it's going to be a great race, and if all goes well, I think you'll see more of those come around. I'm just excited to be in the inaugural dirt race in the Truck Series."
Three days later, he'll race in the Indiana 250 (4:30 p.m. ET, ESPN) at the fabled Indianapolis Motor Speedway, followed the next day by his first career appearance in Sunday's Brickyard 400 (1 p.m. ET, ESPN) Sprint Cup Series race.
"It's going to be a pretty busy week and I'm looking forward to it," Dillon said. "As far as starting the Brickyard 400, I think it's going to be a very emotional day. Our first one is going to be very special."
Dillon, who has finishes of sixth, fifth and third in his last three NNS races, comes into Sunday's race third in the NNS standings just 12 points behind series leader Regan Smith.
"We've been able to win a truck race here (at Chicago), been successful here in the past and coming to a mile-and-a-half right now I think is really good for our team," Dillon said. "We've showed some speed this year at mile-and-a-halfs and I really love this place. It's got a lot of character; we've had a good week leading up to it and I'm just excited about being in Chicagoland."
Dillon, who is one of four drivers in the hunt for the $100,000 Nationwide Dash 4 Cash prize Sunday (along with Brian Vickers, Brian Scott and Michael Annett), is still looking for his first win of the season and thinks he has a pretty good chance to do so at Chicagoland the same day.
"It's been a real good year as far as speed, a decent year as far as us getting the finishes we deserve. Things are starting to turn at the right time. We're still going to take our same mentality into everything and just try to win races, because foremost we want to get that first win off our back."
He'd like nothing better than to be singing Frank Sinatra's famous song, "Chicago, it's my kind of town," if he is fortunate enough to win Sunday's race.
"I sure hope so," Dillon said. "I love this town and the city. It's a great place to come and see and we love coming here to Chicagoland."
Vickers looks to win two in a row
After winning last Sunday's Sprint Cup race at New Hampshire, Vickers hopes to make it two wins in a row in Sunday's STP 300.
When asked if, after all the things he's endured in recent years including health issues, loss of his ride due to the team folding and lack of sponsorship for another Sprint Cup ride, does he feel vindication with his win at New Hampshire, Vickers took pause.
"For me, it was just a very special moment," Vickers said. "I don't know if that's a word I've thought of. I suppose you could apply that. But I think more than anything for me, it was just enjoy the moment and a very special occasion and I'm very thankful and blessed to be have the opportunity to get back in a race car. To be able to race again period, much less to have the opportunity with a team and crew and a sponsor like Aaron's that gave me the opportunity to win again."
Vickers is currently sixth in the Nationwide standings, 46 points behind series leader Regan Smith, and is one of four drivers competing for the $100,000 Dash 4 Cash bonus in Sunday's race.
"I'm excited about being here," Vickers said. "Chicagoland's a great race track and obviously the opportunity to race for an extra $100,000 with the Nationwide Series Dash 4 Cash is pretty cool. I look forward to accomplishing that goal and capturing victory."