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USA Insider Austin Dillon's Life in the Fast Lane

The Pressure Is On For Austin Dillon To Make 2022 NASCAR Cup Series Playoffs

Austin Dillon is facing an uphill battle to qualify for the 2022 NASCAR Cup Series playoffs. 

By Tyler McCarthy
Austin Dillon posing against his racecar

The pressure is on for Austin Dillon as opportunities to qualify for the 2022 NASCAR Cup Series playoffs dwindle to just two. 

How to Watch

Stream all of "Austin Dillon's Life in the Fast Lane" Season 1 on Peacock.

Dillon has been racing alongside fierce competitors this season and, at times, struggled to break out of the middle of the pack. Fortunately, he maintains his can-do spirit and not only doesn’t let the pressure get to him, but he seems to thrive on it. 

That was the case Sunday after a somewhat disappointing 16th-place finish at the Federated Auto Parts 400 at the Richmond Raceway in Virginia. Ahead of the race, he seemed motivated by the pressure to hit Victory Lane in one of the upcoming three races. 

“We’ve had some opportunities that we didn’t capitalize on, a couple come to mind, but we’ve got three left and we’re pretty optimistic,” he told Bob Pockrass. “I’ve worked super hard in the simulator this week, I’ve put in tons of time.” 

Dillon said he’s aware it’s crunch time and has been acting accordingly in the weeks between races. 

“We’ve been grinding,” he added. “This is a good track for us but we need to make it happen one of these three weeks.”

While the work didn’t appear to pay off in terms of his placement, Dillon noted Richmond provided important information for the team moving forward that he thinks will help them with the important races to come. He even complimented his Richard Childress Racing crew for getting his #3 HUK Chevrolet Camaro ZL1 running smoothly on the track by the end of the race. 

“I had fun at Richmond Raceway today and everyone on the No. 3 Huk Performance Fishing Chevrolet team did a great job,” he told reporters after the race (via Sportskeeda). “We started off the race loose. We came to pit road during the stage break and my crew chief, Justin Alexander, made a good call to get my car tightened up during the second stage.”

Dillon went on to lament that the improvements came too late in the race. However, he did highlight the “lucky break” the team caught on a caution flag that allowed him to make up a lost lap. 

“We struggled most of the day with the handling of our Chevrolet, but towards the end of the race we hit on a setup that really worked well with the track,” he concluded. “We were posting solid lap times in Stage 3, even on old tires. I wish we could’ve had that at the beginning of the race. We would’ve been jamming. All-in-all, we’ll take this 16th-place finish and head to Watkins Glen International.”

Because Richmond did not provide Dillon with the placement he needed, all eyes are now on him at Watkins Glen International next week and Daytona International Speedway after that to pick up the victories he needs to go on in the NASCAR Cup series and join his fellow pros in going for the whole championship. 

"Austin Dillon's Life In The Fast Lane" airs Thursdays at 9:30/8:30c on USA Network. Check out additional NASCAR content on Peacock.