Dillon’s still all revved up after first Monster Energy Cup win at Charlotte

DOVER — It’s been nearly a week since Austin Dillon won his first career Monster Energy NASCAR Cup Series race.

And the 27-year-old is still not caught up on all the people who have congratulated him.

“I don’t think I’ve slowed down enough yet,”Dillon said. “Those are the most special times. I’m still going through my phone right now and thanking people.”

After a whirlwind week, Dillon is set to take to the track again as NASCAR arrived at Dover International Speedway on Friday. The AAA 400 Drive for Autism is set for Sunday at 1 p.m.

Dillon used fuel-mileage strategy to become a first-time Cup Series winner last Sunday in the Coca-Cola 600 at Charlotte Motor Speedway. It took him 133 races to earn that first victory.

Also of note, it was the first time the legendary No. 3 car returned to Victory Lane since Dale Earnhardt Jr. won at Talladega in the fall of 2000.

Dillon learned there are some cool perks with being a Cup Series race winner.

He was in New York to celebrate and was able to ring the closing bell of the New York Stock Exchange with his grandfather and car-owner, Richard Childress.

“There were things I did that weren’t on my bucket list, but they would have been on my bucket list if I knew they were possible,” he said. “Like ringing the closing bell, that was pretty cool.”

Dillon said he realized the magnitude of the event when Childress, a NASCAR Hall of Famer in his own right, remarked he had never been invited to ring the closing bell during his lengthy career as a car owner.

“That’s hard to do, to give him a first, because my grandfather has done a whole lot,” Dillon said.

Austin Dillon enters the garage after the Monster Cup qualifying at Dover International Speedway on Friday. (Delaware State News/Marc Clery)

For the most touching moment of the week, Dillon was torn.

First was the toast Childress gave when the team was in New York. He bought a bottle of Dom Pérignon and dedicated the toast to the new Coca-Cola 600 champion, which is when Dillon said the win truly sunk in.

Then there was the team meeting at Richard Childress Racing headquarters in North Carolina, when Dillon was sent in front of the entire shop to give a speech.

“That was probably the most emotional I got,” Dillon said. “Just thanking those guys that have always been there for me.”

The win was another monumental moment in Dillon’s young career. He has already won a NASCAR XFINITY Series and NASCAR Camping World Truck Series championship while working his way up the ranks.

Dillon had won eight career XFINITY Series races and seven times in the truck series before becoming a Cup Series winner.

Austin Dillon during a press conference in the media center at Dover International Speedway on Friday. (Delaware State News/Marc Clery)

“Austin has been a proven winner in the other divisions,” said fellow Cup Series driver Jimmie Johnson. “I haven’t looked at it in a sense other than it’s exciting to see these drivers get their first and to see companies win that should be winning. So, I’m excited for the conversation it’s created in our sport.”

Dillon enters the weekend 21st in the Cup Series point standings, but the win will do a lot to boost his playoff hopes.

He said once he arrived at Dover he was able to get over the high of winning and refocus to try to do it again.

“That was the first one,” Dillon said. “We want more to come.”

Reach staff writer Tim Mastro at tmastro@newszap.com

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