As a Stellar 2020 Continues, Austin Dillon Proves His Worth in NASCAR Cup Series

Published 09/14/2020, 11:33 AM EDT


Back in 2014, when Austin Dillon came into the NASCAR Cup Series, many believed it was too soon for the Richard Childress Racing driver to enter the top tier of the sport. At 24 Dillon burst into the Cup Series scene on the back of a Truck Series title in 2011 and an Xfinity Series title in 2013.

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The talent was there for everyone to see. However, the challenges of the Cup Series soon started to weigh on him. In the 2014 and 2015 seasons, Austin Dillon recorded just nine Top-10 finishes in 72 races. He finished the two seasons in 20th and 21st places, respectively.

Since then, he is on an upward spiral. He recorded 13 Top-10 finishes in 2016 alone and made the Playoffs that year. He won his first race in 2017 and then followed it up with a win in the Daytona 500 race in 2018.

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Stunning 2020 season for Austin Dillon

There are many arguments that said Dillon was still far away from his potential. And rightly so, because Dillon has shown what he can actually do. In a car that is not considered to be a Top-10 contender, Dillon has four Top-5 finishes and a total of nine Top-10 finishes.

He won his third Cup Series race ever at the Texas Motor Speedway. With that, he sealed his place in the Playoffs. Just when no one gave him a chance in the Playoffs, Dillon showed what he can do in just two races so far.

He challenged Kevin Harvick late at Darlington and earned a second-place finish. This past weekend at Richmond, he battled for the lead throughout and was a serious contender for the win, until a late mistake cost him. He still rallied back to finish 4th.

Sep 12, 2020; Richmond, Virginia, USA; NASCAR Cup Series driver Kyle Busch (18) races NASCAR Cup Series driver Austin Dillon (3) during the Federated Auto Parts 400 at Richmond International Raceway. Mandatory Credit: Amber Searls-USA TODAY Sports | Credit: Reuters

A new dark horse

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Dillon is no longer the underdog. He is now a dark horse in the Playoffs. He sits in a strong position to make the Round of 12 and will be through if he finishes in 14th place or higher.

With his current form, he is expected to prevail. However, Dillon does not mind being underestimated. “I hope they keep doubting us,” he said after the Richmond race as he continues to prove critics wrong.

With this newfound confidence, Austin Dillon has certainly raised his billing for not just the rest of the season, but also beyond this year.

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Aayush Majumdar

1006 articles

Aayush Majumdar is a NASCAR content strategist, a Tennis Writer, and a sports analyst at EssentiallySports. He is well-tenured as a tennis and NASCAR writer, with over 900 articles across both sports. After pursuing a Post Graduate program in Sports Management, Aayush explored various roles in Sports Media, including a Sports Reporting role at a leading English daily.

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