In last year’s Coke Zero 400, Austin Dillon was involved in one of the most horrific accidents we’ve seen in quite some time. Coming to the checkered flag, Dillon’s car was thrown airborne exiting the tri-oval into the outside catch fencing at the 2.5-mile Daytona International Speedway, as his No. 3 Chevrolet violently made impact with the fence before being thrown back onto the racing surface.
Luckily, no one was severely injured as Dillon climbed out of what was left of his race car and waived to the fans after.
This year, he’s hoping he gets out of the car and is sliding through the infield tri-oval grass during a celebratory slide after winning the 160 Lap event on Saturday night. In fact, he’s honestly one of the best sleeper picks for this weekend’s race.
Dillon, has been so strong at Daytona as he has five straight top 15 finishes there. In fact, he has four top 10’s in his last five points paying Daytona starts as he was ninth in February’s Daytona 500 and seventh in last year’s Coke Zero 400 (he crashed after the checkered flag).
Then in the 2014 Coke Zero 400, Dillon came home second.
He also started on the pole for the 2014 Daytona 500 where he came home ninth. Furthermore, he qualified his car second in last year’s ‘400 as well.
So, Dillon has had a very fast race car every year he’s raced at Daytona and he’s used that to come away with solid finishes each time. But, this year is different. It just feels that way.
It honestly feels like it’s going to go Dillon’s way on Saturday night.
The grandson of Richard Childress won the NASCAR X-Finity Series race at Daytona last July and has been vastly improved during the course of the entire 2016 season. He’s cooled off a bit since his hot start to the season that saw him finish in the top 11 in five of the first six races, but he’s still had his flashes of brilliance.
He was third at Talladega back in May, so it’s clear he has a good restrictor plate program this year.
I think this is his weekend.
After last year’s crash, he’s owed that.