Lexington, OH- Many NASCAR fans will tune in on the young Austin Dillon as the NASCAR Nationwide Series leaves the 13-turn Mid Ohio Sports Car Course and has its sights set on Bristol Motor Speedway next weekend.
A lot of doubters raised some harsh criticism for the grandson of NASCAR owner Richard Childress this week as he was chosen to fill in for the injured Tony Stewart in the No. 14 Bass Pro Shops Chevrolet in the NASCAR Sprint Cup Series race at the Michigan International Speedway this weekend.
They all raised the same point: Why race at two different tracks when he’s in the midst of the tight points battle in Nationwide competition?
Entering Saturday’s inaugural Nationwide Children’s Hospital 200 at Mid-Ohio, Dillon led Sam Hornish Jr. by only two points in the standings. With it being a stand alone event he had to travel back in forth between Michigan and Mid-Ohio.
It was also the first race at Mid-Ohio as no one has experience so the doubters questioned why take so little seat time there in exchange for a fill-in opportunity on the Cup side where he’s not going for points?
Now, the doubters voices will be raised as Dillon finished 21st in today’s race and has slipped to a tie for third with Regan Smith in the points standings. He now trails the new leader Hornish by 15 points entering Bristol and most will say that could have cost him the championship.
Dillon had to start last today as he didn’t qualify the car as he was in Michigan for the final two practice sessions. That forced him to miss qualifying today and all of practice yesterday at Mid-Ohio.
Now that the Nationwide weekend is over the team has to ask themselves: Was it worth it?
Eric Smith is the Lead Motorsports Writer for Race Review Online. Follow him on Twitter @ericsportsguru
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