Austin Dillon, Tyler Reddick aim to keep Richard Childress Racing rising

Following a bad 2019 season that saw both of its motorists miss out on the playoffs and stop working to win a race, there was just one method for Richard Childress Racing to enter 2020.

Austin Dillon took advantage of pit method and late restarts to win at Texas Motor Speedway in July, and when the postseason showed up, he defied expectations to advance into the 2nd round.

His colleague Tyler Reddick – runner-up that day in Texas – did not make the playoffs however he was the most constant entertainer of the Cup novice class. He equated to Dillon with 9 top-10 surfaces.

Both motorists wish to develop on those successes, beginning at the season-opening Daytona 500 on Feb. 14.

Both motorists likewise have clear locations where they need to enhance to make that take place.

A smoother roadway?

Considering that getting in the Cup Series in 2014, Austin Dillon’s roadway course outcomes have actually been middling.

He’s yet to tape-record a top-10 surface in 15 Cup roadway course begins. His finest outcomes are a set of 16th-place surfaces, one at Watkins Glen International in 2014, the other at Sonoma Raceway in 2018.

Last season, he missed out on the inaugural Cup race on the roadway course at Daytona International Speedway after checking favorable for the coronavirus (COVID-19). He completed 19th on the Roval at Charlotte Motor Speedway.

With 7 points-paying roadway course races on tap for this season (along with Tuesday’s Busch Clash at Daytona roadway course), Dillon has actually looked for to enhance his abilities over the offseason.

Last December, he, Reddick, and numerous NASCAR motorists participated in amateur-level endurance races at Circuit of the Americas (Austin, Tex.), which hosts its inaugural Cup race Might 23.

Last weekend, he made his expert cars launching in the Rolex 24 at Daytona, co-driving Rick Ware Racing and Eurasia Motorsport’s Ligier LMP2 model to a fourth-place surface in class.

“From the short time I’ve jumped in the simulator and gotten in and out of other cars, I’ve been able to pick up speed a bit quicker,” Dillon stated Wednesday in a media teleconference. “I want to do more and more road racing. I’ve got millions of laps in a dirt car and millions of laps in an oval car, but not in road-course races. That comfort of being around other cars is being better. My confidence is higher.

“I can’t wait to race Tuesday night in the (Busch) Clash. That’ll be a fun one … We’re taking it as a test session and are really focused on being aggressive with the adjustments on the car and how I drive in that race.”

After losing out last August, the Rolex 24 was Dillon’s very first race on the Daytona roadway course, which he called “pretty self-explanatory” and “not so much of a technical track” as other roadway courses on the Cup schedule.

However for the Busch Clash and the 2nd race of the Cup season on Feb. 21 – a week after the Daytona 500 – he’ll have one essential distinction to compete with.

“I haven’t gotten to run the new (NASCAR) chicane coming off Turn 4, so I need to make sure I try to stop when I get over there this time around from the Rolex to this race,” he stated.

Crisis management

Along with leading the novices performance-wise, Tyler Reddick carefully matched his veteran colleague in 2020.

Reddick and Dillon not just had the exact same quantity of top-10 surfaces, however were near similar in other classifications such as typical running position throughout a race (Dillon: 16.5, Reddick: 17.2) and laps inside the leading 15 (Dillon: 50.7%, Reddick: 49%).

Typically, Reddick completed within the leading half of the field. However to compete for a playoff berth in his sophomore Cup season, he’ll require top-20 days to end up being top-10 and top-15 days more frequently.

He thinks the secret is much better handling the worst part of his races.

“Normally, that kind of occurred about midway through the race (last season),” Reddick stated Wednesday. “Sometimes, we could recover from it and get back into running for a top 10, but a lot of times when we were in pretty good shape and on pace to run somewhere right outside the top 10 or top 15, that bad run (took) us so far back that it’s really hard to recover from it and get a good finish out of it.”

“… Each race, you’re going to have something that’s your biggest struggle. Just trying to get across that better, with a better head or maybe with a better strategy – whatever it might be, we’ve been looking at it and just trying to be more aware of that as an issue, how we can prepare better for it, how we can handle it better.”

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Austin Dillon, Tyler Reddick goal to keep Richard Childress Racing increasing initially appeared on NBCSports.com

Jobber Wiki author Frank Long contributed to this report.