The No. 3 team of Austin Dillon has been within reach of a win multiple times during the 2022 Cup Series season. The team still has an opportunity to reach the playoffs, but they have to put together a complete performance.
Team owner Richard Childress said as much on July 5 during an appearance on SiriusXM NASCAR Radio, two days after Tyler Reddick scored his first career Cup Series win. Childress explained that Dillon has been within reach of a win multiple times, and he expects the veteran driver to achieve this goal before the playoffs.
“Well, you know, they’ve been running good,” Childress said during an appearance on SiriusXM NASCAR Radio. “They’ve had — like I said — they’ve had second-place finishes, third-place, and they’ve been right there. They’ve gotta put it together. They’re not where they need to be on the road courses, for sure, but you put them everywhere else, they’re right there with them.
“They’re working hard. They know they gotta go out and they gotta win. We’re… I think we’ve got a shot to win one of these races coming up before the chase. That’s our plan. We’re all working on it. The whole team is working on it.”
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Dillon Has Contended During Certain Races
The driver of the No. 3 is below the cutline after the trip to Road America, and he needs to make up 94 points to overtake Christopher Bell in the final transfer spot. This is not an easy task, so Dillon sits in a must-win situation.
The three-time Cup Series winner has contended in multiple races in 2022. He has runner-ups at Auto Club Speedway and Talladega Superspeedway to his name. He also finished third overall at Martinsville Speedway, which showed that he has adapted well to the Next Gen era.
The closest call for Dillon took place at Charlotte Motor Speedway. He used fresh tires to briefly take the lead in the Coca-Cola 600 during overtime, but his race ended after contact from Kyle Larson sent him into the wall. Instead of winning his third Crown Jewel race, he finished 22nd.
Dillon hasn’t delivered a win yet, but he remains within reach of some career-best numbers. He is only one top-five away from tying his career-high of four (2016, 2020). He needs seven more top-10 finishes to tie his 13 from the 2016 season. Achieving both is realistic considering that there are 18 races remaining in the regular season.
Dillon Has 8 More Opportunities in 2022
Childress has big expectations for the No. 3 team and Dillon, in particular. He believes that the team can return to the playoffs for the first time since the 2020 season, and he wants to see it happen in 2022.
Dillon has eight more opportunities to win a race and potentially secure a spot in the championship chase. This is the number of remaining regular-season races, a run that includes a track where Dillon has a previous win. He won the Daytona 500 to kick off the 2018 season.
The next race on the schedule is the return to the reconfigured Atlanta Motor Speedway. Dillon has contended for wins in previous superspeedway races, so it appeared that he would be a name to watch once again. However, a push from Kyle Busch sent him into the wall and ended his day early.
“It was a wild race for sure. Austin was running third going for that green and white checker for one of the stages — I think it was the first stage — and he and the [No. 18] got together. So he was running really good,” Childress added during his July 5 appearance.
The rest of the regular season features trips to New Hampshire Motor Speedway (July 17), Pocono Raceway (July 24), Indianapolis Motor Speedway’s road course (July 31), Michigan International Speedway (August 7), Richmond Raceway (August 14), Watkins Glen International (August 21), and Daytona International Speedway (August 27).