June 21, 2021

by a NASCAR fanatic - not affiliated with NASCAR

COMMENTATOR 1: Boy, Almirola’s right there with Denny Hamlin on this restart. That’s huge.

COMMENTATOR 2: Toyota, Ford up front. Chevy’s in row two, Buescher and Dylan.

COMMENTATOR 1: Boy, look at Almirola getting right down on that door. I mean– Tell you that 10 car showing his-

COMMENTATOR 3: Showing his strength, isn’t he, DW?

COMMENTATOR 1: Pretty strong. We don’t know how good some of these guys are ’cause we haven’t seen them up front all day. And here we got a shot.

COMMENTATOR 4: Now Paul Menard just tried to make a move on Buescher. That’s going to hurt Denny Hamlin. He’s got no pusher.

COMMENTATOR 2: And Eric Almirola who had a bad crash Kansas last year. Missed six races. That’s when Bubba Wallace got his chance to drive the 43 Almirola moved on at the end of the season to Stewart-Haas racing. And he is a lap away from the checkered flag in the Daytona 500.

COMMENTATOR 1: Well, he did what his crew chief told him. You got the lead hang on to it.

COMMENTATOR 4: Now he’s just got to keep those two side by side behind him. Keep working those lanes. I like the inside land the corner, or the outside lane on the straightaways. It’s gonna be a big push coming on the top lane.

VOICE ON IN-CAR MIC: On both of them. [INAUDIBLE] going to be the same both lanes.

COMMENTATOR 1: Boy, this is gonna take–

COMMENTATOR 4: Think he needs to go to the top lane.

COMMENTATOR 1: Gonna have to be quick. Gonna have to be quick.

COMMENTATOR 2: Almirola up to cover. Dillon, where will he go?

COMMENTATOR 4: Now it’s gonna get there.

COMMENTATOR 2: Oh. [INAUDIBLE] Almirola. Around he goes.

COMMENTATOR 1: Good grief.

VOICE ON IN-CAR MIC: Hang on to it, bud. Hang on to us.

COMMENTATOR 2: And here it comes. With the number three 20 years ago. 20 years of trying for Earnhardt. He won the Daytona 500. Austin Dillon wins the 60th running of the great American race. Turning the number three to victory lane. And he just did a slide to replicate what Dale did when he won it in the three 20 years ago. How fitting. How special.

COMMENTATOR 4: Well, you’re going to see a lot of emotion out of this young man for this win. That’s huge for this family, for RCR.

COMMENTATOR 1: Such a– an anniversary.

COMMENTATOR 2: Austin Dillon has just won the first race of the 2018 Monster Energy NASCAR Cup Series.

AUSTIN DILLON: I did what I had to do at the end. I hate it for the ten guys. We just had a run and I stayed in the gas. That’s what it is here at Daytona. But it is so awesome to take the three car back to victory lane 20 years ago. This one’s for Dale Earnhardt Senior and all those Senior fans. I love you guys. We’re gonna keep kickin’ butt the rest of the year.

INTERVIEWER: He had a lucky penny in the car. Anything special in this three?

AUSTIN DILLON: I had a fan– actually, he had no favorite driver. And I told him I said, “I’ll give you my hat if I’m your favorite driver.” Well, I gave him the hat. The next day he saw me in the infield. And said, “Here’s a lucky penny I found heads up.” I said, “Man, we gotta put that in the car.” Put it in the car and we’re here in victory lane.

INTERVIEWER: What were you thinking on the last restart, building toward the finish?

AUSTIN DILLON: I knew we were in a good spot. And the 43, I got to thank him, Darrell Wallace. He did a great job, finishing one two with ECR engines. What a day. Thanks, Darryl, for that push. And had to make it happen at the end.

INTERVIEWER: You could hear the emotion in your grandfather’s voice, congratulating you. You know how much this race in this place means to him and this gift tonight for him.

AUSTIN DILLON: I said that my first win was– I couldn’t beat it. And this does. I mean, my grandfather has done everything for me. And everybody knows it. You know, there’s a lot of pressure on me to perform. Because I’ve had a little bit of everything. But I like that pressure. And the same with the number three. There’s a lot of pressure behind it. But I’m willing to take it and go with it. And I’m just thankful for everyone that supported us along the way. Dale Earnhardt Jr. And his family, for letting us bring this number back out. And man, it comes full circle. And just can’t thank the Lord enough for this opportunity.

Whitney, before the race started she talked to me. We were praying. She said, “This one isn’t going to be pretty. I don’t feel like you’re going to lean much of it. But we’re going to win it when it matters, last lap.” I was like, sure, I’ll take it anyway we can get it. And she called it before the race. So gotta thank my wife for the shout out right there.

INTERVIEWER: Tell me about that move.

AUSTIN DILLON: Well, Bubba gave me a heck of a push down the back stretch. And I went low. 43 went up and I just had more momentum when he was trying to block me and it turned him. So hate that for him. But it’s the Daytona 500. He’s gonna do the same thing to me in that position. So man, we just won the Harley J. Earl.

INTERVIEWER: This race is life changing. It’s career defining. Congratulations.

AUSTIN DILLON: Thanks, Michael. It’s a heck of a race. And I gotta thank everybody in Daytona at the Speedway. They put on a great show. And it’s awesome. Thank you, Johnny Morris. Thanks for all your support.