Austin Dillon drove to an 11th-place finish as a last-minute substitute for Michael Annett in Saturday’s NASCAR Xfinity Series Credit Karma Money 250 at Atlanta Motor Speedway in the No. 1 JR Motorsports Chevrolet.
JRM announced just moments before the race that Annett would be sidelined by injury. Team owner Dale Earnhardt Jr. later revealed on NBCSN that Annett had a leg injury that was keeping him out of the race. Annett was also forced to be replaced in Friday night’s NASCAR Camping World Truck Series race at Knoxville Raceway.
There's a driver change today at @JRMotorsports.
— NASCAR on NBC (@NASCARonNBC) July 10, 2021
Dillon, a Cup Series regular, was hastily fitted for the No. 1 Chevrolet on the grid. He was in unfamiliar surroundings from the get-go, asking the team over radio communications how to start the car and what the names of his spotter (Jason Jarrett) and crew chief (Mike Bumgarner) were.
Dillon said a pre-race phone call with Earnhardt confirmed the late-hour start.
Austin Dillon says when he heard JR Motorsports needed a driver, he called Dale Earnhardt Jr. to see if he could drive.
Dillon finished 11th substituting for Michael Annett (leg injury). pic.twitter.com/sVIU2Os20E
— Bob Pockrass (@bobpockrass) July 10, 2021
Dillon had one other Xfinity Series start this season, finishing 13th at Circuit of The Americas. He won the 2013 Xfinity Series championship before making the jump to NASCAR’s top division.
Despite missing the race, Annett remained 10th in the Xfinity Series points standings. He has one top five and eight top 10s in 17 races this season. His lone series win came in 2019 in the season-opening race at Daytona International Speedway.