Austin Dillon says he’s really good at blocking people on social media who say negative things.
But — as it might have been evident in the moments after Sunday’s win at Texas Motor Speedway — that doesn’t mean their comments go unnoticed.
Dillon uses them for fuel and opened his post-race interview saying, “Not bad for a silver spoon kid, right?” — a nod to critics of his path to a full-time ride with Richard Childress Racing.
“I keep every one of them as fuel to kind of light the fire and even if I block it, I remember what they say and the things that they say,” Dillon said this morning during a video interview. “I think everybody does it, I think that’s what fuels sports in general, the doubters.
“So I thank those people, too, because that’s why I am the way that I am, the competitor that I am.”
Dillon, a Welcome native who recently moved to Thomasville, won Sunday’s race by staying in front on three late restarts, finishing ahead of RCR teammate Tyler Reddick. It was the third Cup Series win of Dillon’s career and the first since Daytona at the start of the 2018 season.
“I’ve saved tweets in my phone, under photos, and just kind of, for the certain situations where you can just (say), ‘Ha, that feels good,’” Dillon said.
Dillon said he saves only two or three screenshots at a time, but they’re fun to revisit in times like these.
“I try not to save them because you get too many of them, then you’re really in a bad place with it,” he said. “But every now and then there’s one or two that you can look back on and be like, ‘I guess that didn’t work out well for them.’”
Dillon’s win was muted — instead of the 181,655 capacity at Texas Motor Speedway, an estimated 15,000-20,000 fans attended the the first major sporting event in Texas in more than four months amid the COVID-19 pandemic.
“Victory Lane is probably the only thing that I would say is just a lot different where you’re not doing the hat dance and the guys aren’t all over there hugging on you and stuff,” Dillon said. “They get one picture with their mask on and kind of social-distance apart. That kinda stinks, but other than that, we’re doing pictures here (Tuesday), doing the hat dance here at our shop with the trophy and our car, so that feels pretty good.”
There was a celebration after Dillon got home, but that was muted, too, in comparison to earlier days of his career.
“I had a couple of buddies come over and we sat out by the pool and tried to stay away from the baby and momma,” Dillon said, referencing his son, Ace, born June 14, and his wife, Whitney. “We just sat out by the pool, listened to a little country music and reminisced about the race.
“It was a lot more mild than my previous win parties, I’ll give it that. I mean, it was an adult Austin Dillon instead of the kid partying.”
The win clinches a playoff spot for Dillon and affords his RCR team some leeway between now and the Sept. 6 start date for the playoffs.
“You’ve gotta go get every point you can when you’re not a winner,” Dillon said. “So I think there is an advantage to being able to try some of the things that we have been thinking about, but were scared to just because you don’t want to give up any points with the position that we were in.”
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