LONG POND – Yes, Austin Dillon won Saturday’s Pocono Mountains 150 in rather convincing fashion. The Richard Childress Racing driver started second and led three times for a race-high 23 laps en route to the victory.
But it wasn’t quite that easy for the 24 year-old, who won the Camping World Truck Series championship in 2011 driving for Childress, also his grandfather, and now races full-time in the Sprint Cup Series.
“It was actually pretty funny how we started the weekend. We made the first lap (on Friday) and pop-pop (Childress) came on the radio and said, ‘You can’t be two seconds off the pace in a truck,’” Dillon said. “We showed him how, and (crew chief) Nick (Harrison) was able to recover and did a great job.
“I tried to calm my grandfather and remind him that this is the first truck we’ve brought to the track this year, and Pocono’s not an easy place to get the setup right because all three corners are different. We were able to get him calmed down, put it all together and get to Victory Lane.”
Harrison had just as much praise for Dillon’s driving skills as he did for his ability to relax Childress.
“Austin had my back there after that first run and I needed it, to be honest with you,” he said. “But Mr. Childress gives us the resources not to unload like that. And Chevrolet has a new body; a new nose and some things are a little bit different when you go through technical inspection.
“But we were able to overcome that and Austin did a great job on all of those late-race restarts. But when you unload like that you expect Mr. Childress to be down on you, and rightfully so. But we were able to rebound and I hope he’s happy with us.”
A playful Childress was more than pleased with the outcome.
“I just wanted to let them know that I was here and that I was watching because they didn’t know when I got in,” he said. “But there was no doubt in my mind that Nick was going to be able to come back and I’m really proud of that whole team.”
And for the second consecutive week, Childress got a chance to see his grandson take the win, after Austin’s younger brother, Ty Dillon, won his first Nationwide Series race at Indianapolis Motor Speedway last Saturday.
The win was also a special one for the team with Yuengling Light Lager coming aboard as the sponsor for the one-off race.
“It was very special for us to be able to come out here and do this race,” Dillon said. “Yuengling Light gave us this opportunity, and I circled this race on my calendar at the beginning on the year and wanted to win it. I knew we could come out here and do it.”
Harrison was also thankful for the opportunity.
“It’s really cool to be in Yuengling Light’s backyard and get a victory,” he said. “And thanks to Austin for believing in me when we were at Phoenix Racing and doing some Cup races together last year.
“That’s probably the reason I’m here right now. It’s probably a year later from when we did all of that, and it’s nice to be able to be here celebrating a win with RCR.”
No less significant was the fact the Dillon’s win broke a streak of 10 consecutive victories for Toyota Racing this year, a stat not lost on Childress.
“We’re just thrilled for Chevy,” he said of the manufacturer, which scored its last series’ win with grandson Ty behind the wheel at Texas Motor Speedway last November. “They’ve got a great truck and I’m just very happy to be here and proud of my grandson Austin and everything these guys are doing with RCR.”