NASCAR Driver Austin Dillon Discusses His Racing Roots in Chattanooga
Bristol last weekend. Talladega this weekend. We’re in the heart of NASCAR season. Driver Austin Dillon is getting very close to his first win of the season. News 12’s Angela Moryan talked to him about momentum and his ties to Chattanooga, in an exclusive interview.
Austin Dillon might be the grandson of NASCAR Hall of Famer Richard Childress — but he got his start right here on Chattanooga’s dirt tracks.
Said Dillon: “Our shop was on Brainerd Road. Hung out at Bud’s, growing up racing around there. A lot of time spent in Chattanooga. One of my first races ever was at Boyd Speedway there. Getting on that track and running well. I think I had the fast time there for a long time.”
Dillon owes a lot to Boyd’s … including his marriage to former U-T-C cheerleader and Soddy Daisy alum Whitney Ward. The two connected at Bristol, but Dillon won over her family at Boyd’s.
Said Dilllon: “I actually went back for an exhibition race at Boyd’s when Whitney and I were talking, and her dad came with her brother to watch me race, and we had a really good night there. That’s the night I set the fast time. I took her brother and him in a ride around the track, and that was kind of when I felt like I’d locked in the family. … When I talked on the mic that night, I said, ‘Yeah, I’m dating a girl from Soddy.’ Everybody cheered. It was cool.”
Angela: “How did doing dirt racing around the Chattanooga area before you went pro really help you to where your career is at now?”
Said Dillon: “You see so many different track conditions at a dirt race. It’s always constantly changing, and just being ready for anything was part of that. It definitely helped me when I moved into asphault, being able to find lines and change. … Getting comfortable in uncomfortable positions is always good.”
After missing the playoffs last year, Dillon’s team is running strong — eyeing an automatic win-and-in for the Cup this season.
Said Dillon: “Running inside the top 10 pretty regularly. The new car has been fun for us, and we’re getting better each and every week. Hopefully, that pays off. We were really close to making it last year when it came down to points, but this year we’re more focused on getting a win and locking ourselves in that way like we did in the year past. I’m pumped with where we are right now. We’re performing well. Hoping a trophy’s around the corner.”>