BROOKLYN, Mich – Friday was a solid day out of the Richard Childress Racing camp at the Michigan International Speedway. They did a good enough job in practice early on in the day to put both cars in the third and final round of Busch Pole Award qualifying from the 2-mile, D-Shaped oval.
In fact, both RCR cars earned spots in the top half of the final round as they will share Row 3 for Sunday’s Consumers Energy 400 (2:30 p.m. ET/NBCSN/MRN/SiriusXM NASCAR Radio).
Austin Dillon qualified his No. 3 Chevrolet fifth while his teammate Ryan Newman earned the sixth starting spot in his No. 31 Chevrolet. Dillon, won the season opening Daytona 500 on Feb. 18 but in the nearly six months since that thrilling victory, the North Carolina native has finished in the top five again. He only has two top 10’s over the last 21 races with one coming in a 10th place finish at Fontana back in March and the other a ninth place run in the Coke Zero Sugar 400 at Daytona in July.
So, other than Daytona and Fontana, Dillon hasn’t finished in the top 10. His best finish away from those two tracks was a 12th place run in the June Pocono race. So, as he heads to the playoffs in a month, he’s trying to gain as much momentum as possible.
His teammate Newman is just trying to get into the playoffs. He has six top 10’s all year including two in the last three races alone and three in the last five. He’s trending in the right direction but is likely too far out in terms of points to make the playoffs on points alone. He needs to win a race and this is a positive sign in the right direction. He also earned a top 10 finish at Michigan last August too and should be in the hunt for a potential upset victory on Sunday.
Watch out for both cars. Michigan and Fontana are good tracks for them.