ANNOUNCER: Almirola up to cover. Dillon– where will he go?
ANNOUNCER: Dillon’s gonna get there.
ANNOUNCER: Oh no.
ANNOUNCER: Into Almirola.
ANNOUNCER: Dillon turns him. Aric Almirola into the wall.
ANNOUNCER: And here it comes, the number three. Austin Dillon wins the Great American Race.
AUSTIN DILLON: Did we just [BLEEP] win?
RICHARD CHILDRESS: Hell of a job, buddy. Hell of a job.
– Austin Dillon is the Daytona 500 champion. He joins us now on “NASCAR Race Hub.”
Austin, congratulations. I’m sure it has been a wild couple of days.
– Thanks for having me, guys. I can’t thank you enough, all the fans in NASCAR. You always just cherish these moments. To become a Daytona 500 winner, it was a dream of mine to– to be at this– this racetrack, just let alone win it. I’ve started in, I think, five of these, or six of these, now. And you just dream of this opportunity. And you don’t know how it’s going to come true, and it did.
And just so happy for all my guys back at RCR in Welcome, North Carolina. Special moment– I’m glad I got to celebrate with them.
– Austin, your family, specifically your grandfather Richard Childress– so much history with– with this race. How do you look at it differently because of that?
– Man, the Daytona 500 is important to everyone. You know, my family’s history goes a long way back here at Daytona. But there are so many names on that Harley Jer– J Earl trophy that you want to be a part of. I’m just glad to etch mine in there and be a part of it. I don’t know where it goes down in history, but it’s– it’s pretty cool to say that I’m a Daytona 500 champion.
– You win the Daytona 500. You celebrate with your grandfather Richard Childress. What was that conversation like?
– Truthfully, I just saw him crying after the race and gave him a hug. And I couldn’t believe it. I didn’t get emotional. I haven’t gotten emotional yet. Because I just didn’t know what was going on. I mean, it was happening so fast. And the race was over, you’re in victory lane.
And I’m just thankful good lord put us in this position and gave us everything we needed to win, my grandfather, for all his support over the years. He definitely gave me my career. And to be able to give him a Daytona 500 trophy, it feels awesome.
– Austin, 20 years ago, Dale Earnhardt drove that number three to victory lane at Daytona. You and your brother, Ty, were in victory lane. We’ve all seen the picture. When you look at that picture, what do you think?
– Wow, just happy days. I guess what I would say is times that everyone remember as great times and fun times. And getting to take those pictures in victory lane, there’s no other place like Daytona victory lane. And celebrating with guys that put in the blood, sweat, and tears in these race cars, and it’s family. And Daytona’s a part of our family. And glad to be here and– and doing it together with RCR.
– And there were some changes at RCR in the offseason. So how would you describe the mindset and attitude for that group in 2018?
– Well, Andy Petree has brought another aspect of racing to our shop. And he’s been a great addition. And him and Eric Warren together, Eric Warren gets a lot of credit for these race cars. He’s put a lot of hard work and effort into it. And together, him and Andy Petree are going to go a long way. And I think that’s a big part of the competition that we have at RCR.
31 team– Ryan Newman was the first guy to my car after we won. That goes a long way. And we’re going to work hard together to keep winning these races for our team.
SHANNON SPAKE: The last lap contact with Aric Almirola, we’re talking about it. Have you chatted with Aric yet?
– I haven’t. I sent him a text and said, hey man, thank you for the classy interview after the race and– and said, you know, if you’re in the same position, I hope you do the same to me for a Daytona 500 trophy. And you know, Aric’s a great guy. He’s got a great family.
And he’s won races. And he’s going to continue to win races. And like I said, I– I hope, in the same situation, he’d do the same.
– You’ve won the 500. That’s big. But you’re also in the playoffs. What is the approach now going forward, Austin?
– Wow, just thinking about it, the opportunity to have another chance in the playoffs, want to win a– win a championship in the Cup Series. That’s my ultimate goal, to win all three. And everybody dreams that opportunity. And I think we’ve put ourselves in a pretty darn good position for the start of 2018.
– Certainly. One more question Austin– we have [INAUDIBLE] in studio today. We know that Bubba gave you that push in order to win this race. So Drew wants to know, dinner bottle of wine, case of wine, anything like that for these 43 guys when they get back and you get back?
– No doubt. I’m– I’m serving up the 43 team and Bubba for the next couple weeks. Thank them for all that push they gave us in the last lap. It’s cool, I got to FaceTime Bubba this morning. And seeing him and how things come full circle, we raced together in Bandoleros, myself, him, my brother, Ryan Blaney.
And now, coming all the way to Daytona, and Ryan lead a bunch of laps. Bubba pushed me to the win. It’s– it’s amazing how the world turns, I guess. So thanks, Drew and the 43 team. And yeah, I’ll see you when we get back home. And I’ll definitely take care of lunch.
– And we know you’re going to be back home tomorrow, because we’ll see you on “NASCAR Race Hub.” Congratulations, Austin.
– Thank you.