Austin Dillon writes his Daytona 500 history – in permanent ink

After Austin Dillon won the Daytona 500, his “Wolfpack” howled at the moon until the sun came up on Monday.

The party moved from Victory Lane at Daytona International Speedway to across the street at Tijuana Flats.

But the inner circle ended up at Daytona Hardcore Tattoos for some celebratory ink late last night.

“I got a tattoo last night,” Dillon acknowledged. “It says Daytona 500 Champ on it. It’s pretty cool. And you’ll never be able to see it either. Hate it for you all. It’s a pretty cool looking tattoo. Whitney (Dillon’s wife) is probably the only one that’s going to see it for a while.

“Actually a lot of the guys got tattoos last night. Everybody was lined up."

While the Wolfpack felt no pain in the wee hours of the night, Dillon’s backside was a bit sensitive still on Monday.

“Yeah, it hurt,” Dillon said. “It feels OK this morning, but one of the boys spanked me on the butt when I came over here and I said, ‘Easy, guy.”

Dillon selected the moniker “Wolfpack” from RCR’s remote location in Welcome, N.C., outside of the hub of racing north of Charlotte, N.C. After a night of partying at the infamous Ocean Deck, the die was cast.

“When you come down to Lexington, you’re part of the family,” Dillon said. “My guys that come there, I try to bring them in. I’ve had a couple of guys live with me at the barn—I live in a barn. It’s a pretty cool place. Two of the guys on my team lived with me at one point. I’m just trying to give them the same opportunity my grandpa (Richard Childress) gave me and make it easier for them to get their career going. And once they get on their feet, bring in another person.

“They’re part of the Wolfpack from that part on. We actually came down here on our Easter off-weekend to Daytona. I could have chose a lot of cool places, but I chose Daytona cause we had a place to stay down here and some buddies. There were about seven of us that came down here. That was the original ‘Pack’. We just had a good time. The last night, my big buddy back there, Radar, he was against us all getting tattoos. Then he had a couple of drinks and was like, ‘We’re all going to get tattoos. We’re going to do it now.’ So we all went and got a tattoo together, designed it up.”

Dillon and his boys settled on a howling wolf to be permanently affixed to their buttocks.

“Twelve of us got the tattoo that night,” Dillon said. “That was the original Wolfpack. Now, there’s about 20 of us and it just keeps on growing.”

Paul Swan was one of the original fraternity with the Wolfpack stamp. The former Bowling Green University linebacker turned jackman/front tire carrier for the No. 3 team was inked with Dillon but added a Daytona 500 tattoo on his cheek prior to Monday morning’s celebratory breakfast.

“We went back to the same tattoo parlor,” Swan said. “I got a new tattoo—a Daytona 500 champion tattoo. So I have three ass tattoos now. It’s like a big ass patch.”

Derrell Edwards, a former basketball player at High Point University, had never been exposed to NASCAR before touring Richard Childress Racing’s campus in Welcome, N.C. A chance meeting with RCR’s chaplain, Richard Payne, led to his current role as a jackman/tire carrier for Dillon.

But just two years ago, Swan and Edwards were working at the ARCA level before quickly ascending to the Cup tour later that year. Swan moved to Dillon’s crew from the No. 27 team last year.

“Growing up in Baltimore I was never exposed to NASCAR,” Edwards said. “But this is bad ass.”

That's literally true for Edwards, who also received his initiation ink Sunday night.

The only holdout on the No. 3 RCR team? Crew chief Justin Alexander.

“I told them I’d get one when we won Homestead—and the championship,” Alexander said.

Write a comment
Show comments
About this article
Series NASCAR Cup
Event Daytona 500
Track Daytona International Speedway
Drivers Austin Dillon
Teams Richard Childress Racing
Article type Interview