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Austin Dillon’s Decision to Drive the #14 Chevrolet This Weekend is a Bad Move

August 12th, 2013 at 6:58 PM
By Clayton Caldwell

Monday's announcement of Austin Dillon running Stewart-Haas Racing's #14 Chevrolet this weekend at Michigan International Speedway was intriguing if you're an Austin Dillon fan. 

Dillon is currently the points leader in the NASCAR Nationwide Series and has a three point lead over second place driver Sam Hornish Jr. Dillon's lead over third place driver Regan Smith is five points. Fourth in the standings is Elliott Sadler, who is 12 points back and fifth in the standings is Brian Vickers who 18 points behind. 

'IMG_2342' photo (c) 2012, Parker Anderson - license: http://creativecommons.org/licenses/by-nd/2.0/

This weekend's race for the NASCAR Nationwide Series is the Nationwide Children's Hospital 200 at Mid-Ohio Sports Car Course in Lexington, Ohio. The NASCAR Sprint Cup Series will be racing at the Michigan International Speedway in Brooklyn, Michigan. The tracks are over three and a half hours apart, drive time. In a plane that time will be cut down significantly. However, the schedules for the two races this weekend lineup. 

Dillon will practice and qualify the Cup #14 car on Friday, meaning he will miss two crucial practice sessions on Friday at Mid-Ohio Sports Car Course when Max Papis will practice his #3 Nationwide Series car. Dillon has said himself that he is not a road course expert. Sam Hornish Jr, on the other hand, runs extremely well at road course races. Look at his runner-up finish at Watkins Glen last Saturday. Dillon needs all the help he can get this weekend to get the upper hand on Hornish. 

The Nationwide Series schedule is a long, hectic season, where every race means a lot. There is no Chase for the Nationwide Series, so the race at Mid-Ohio means just as much in the points standings as any other race. With Dillon missing practice, I think he will be at a huge disadvantage for Saturday's Nationwide race. You have to wonder how many points it will cost Dillon to be in Michigan this weekend. 

I understand the fact that driving the #14 Chevrolet in the Cup Series is a huge opportunity. Dillon will be driving Hendrick Motorsports chassis and engines this weekend. It is a good opportunity for Dillon and he could even win a Cup race. 

Is that more important to him than a Nationwide Series championship? Is it more important for Dillon to run a cup race than have his name on the Nationwide Series trophy? It's going to be a tough weekend for Dillon to begin with, with his prime competition at their best racetrack.  

'Tony Stewart Garage' photo (c) 2013, Marco Becerra - license: http://creativecommons.org/licenses/by/2.0/

Is it worth it? Do Dillon and Richard Childress Racing have their sights set on 2014? There is speculation that Austin Dillon will run in the Sprint Cup Series full time in the 2014 season. There is no doubt that Dillon will get more experience in a Cup car driving for Stewart-Haas Racing. He will learn a lot of Stewart-Haas Racing's strategy and will learn a lot for the 2014 season. 

If that is more important to them then all power to them. However, if Dillon wants to win the NASCAR Nationwide Series championship then running the Cup race at Michigan is a bad idea. 

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Tags: Austin Dillon, Motorsports, NASCAR, NASCAR Nationwide Series, NASCAR Sprint Cup Series, Richard Childress Racing, Stewart-Haas Racing

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