This Weekend's Bass Pro Shops Chevrolet at Loudon ... Austin Dillon will drive Chassis No. 085 in this weekend's New England 200. This brand-new chassis was built in-house by the RCR team and will complete its maiden voyage on-track this weekend.
Experience Matters ... Dillon has three previous NASCAR-sanctioned starts at Loudon, one in the NASCAR Camping World Truck Series and two in the NASCAR K&N Pro Series East division. His NCWTS attempt, in September 2009, produced a 15th-place finish after starting fourth. In two NKNPS-E races, both in 2008, Dillon has two top-five finishes and one pole award.
Welcome Back, Austin ... Saturday's New England 200 marks Dillon's seventh NNS attempt and first start in NASCAR's No. 2 tour since finishing 19th at Michigan Int'l Speedway in August 2009. The highlight of the 20-year-old High Point University student's NNS career thus far is a fourth-place finish at Memphis Motorsports Park in October 2008.
Tough Trucks ... Dillon, a fulltime competitor in the NCWTS, has had a stellar 2010 season to-date, earning back-to-back pole awards at Texas Motor Speedway on June 4 and Michigan Int'l Speedway on June 12. He currently leads the Raybestos Rookie of the Year standings and, with nine of 25 races complete, sits 11th in the point standings on the strength of two top-five and four top-10 finishes.
Saddle Up! ... Prior to arriving to New Hampshire for the NASCAR race weekend, Dillon spent Tuesday and Wednesday in Iowa to help promote the July 11 NCWTS/ARCA double-header weekend at the 0.875-mile short track. Dillon participated in local radio and television interviews, made an appearance to sponsor Bass Pro Shops in Altoona, Iowa and spent a few hours at the birthplace of John Wayne in Winterset, Iowa. Dillon is a fan of the iconic Wayne's film career and even honors him via a cowboy hat-shaped pit sign in NCWTS races.
Brotherly Love ... Prior to Dillon's NNS start this weekend, his brother Ty will compete in Friday's NASCAR K&N Pro Series East race.
How will your prior stock car racing experience help you in the NNS this weekend?
"I've been able to race at Loudon more than, virtually, any other track on the schedule in my short racing history, with the exception of maybe Iowa. Between starts in the NASCAR K&N Pro Series East and the NASCAR Camping World Truck Series, I have a good history at New Hampshire, with lots of success in the East Series and a top-five qualifying run in the truck. Our finish wasn't as good in the truck but that was a matter of circumstance and not performance. I feel like I have a good grasp on how to get around the track at New Hampshire so I feel good about competing in the NASCAR Nationwide Series this weekend. I know the competition will be a little bit tougher, especially with some of the fulltime NASCAR Sprint Cup Series drivers entered, but we are going into the race with the same confidence that we have going into truck races. We want to go to Loudon and whip some tail."
Your NASCAR Camping World Truck Series crew chief, Danny Stockman, and your NCWTS team will be assisting you this weekend. How much does it help you to have them on board for your first NNS start of 2010?
"I think it helps a lot to have my truck team with me. I haven't had a bond like the one I have with [Danny] Stockman with anyone else in my career. We have figured out a way to communicate very well together, and having my entire team with me is really going to be beneficial, I think. The whole team really enjoys it and they have worked hard building a fast, brand new Chevrolet for this race. I hope to go out there and run in the top 10."
What are your expectations for Saturday's race?
"I think a top 10 is very reachable, looking at the way the No. 21 Chevrolet has finished so far this season and looking at the competition. Anything above a top 10 would just be a bonus, and is very possible, but a top 10 is definitely the goal. New Hampshire is a place where fuel mileage is important, so I'm sure that will be a factor in the race."