Friday, January 11, 2013
Austin Dillon to drive 51 car at Vegas
By David Newton
DAYTONA BEACH, Fla. -- Austin Dillon, the grandson of Richard Childress Racing's owner, will drive a Sprint Cup car with a Hendrick Motorsports engine at Las Vegas Motor Speedway.
Phoenix Racing owner James Finch said during Friday's Cup test at Daytona International Speedway that Dillon will pilot his No. 51 car sponsored by TAG Heuer Eyewear at the March 10 race.
Finch's cars are powered by HMS engines. Dillon is running a full-time Nationwide Series schedule and about six Cup races for his grandfather, Richard Childress, as he plans to move full-time into Cup in 2014 at RCR.
He is at the three-day Daytona test driving RCR's No. 33 in preparation for his debut in the Daytona 500 next month.
Asked how the deal came about, Finch jokingly said, "Richard is too old to mess with. Austin says they don't have no fun."
In reality, Finch said, Tag Heuer's existing relationship with Dillon helped put the deal together.
Also, Finch said Furniture Row Racing's Kurt Busch has agreed to drive for him in the three Nationwide races at Daytona and Talladega. Busch won the July Nationwide race at Daytona a year ago in a Phoenix car and had a chance to win the other two restrictor-plate races.
"We're going to take the same combination back to the plates," Finch said during the morning test session.
Finch said he is committed to 18 to 24 Cup races with the hope to piecing enough sponsorship to run the full schedule.
Regan Smith, running a full-time Nationwide schedule for JR Motorsports, will drive in the Daytona 500, the other three plate races and four to six more events. AJ Allmendinger will drive in the other events, in addition to Las Vegas.