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Posted: Friday, February 21st 2014 at 3:30pm

NASCAR Preview: Three reasons the No. 3 could win the Daytona 500

By NASCAR Media
EMAIL STORY CONTACT EDITOR PRINT
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Austin Dillon hopes to write his own page of history with the No. 3 car on Sunday with a win in the Daytona 500 to open the NASCAR Sprint Cup Series season. / Photo: NASCAR Via Getty Images
DAYTONA BEACH, FL - Is Austin Dillon’s Richter-scale-registering Coors Light Pole victory only the beginning? If so, it’s quite an opening act. But maybe the news-making storylines will continue well after his iconic No. 3 Chevrolet leads the field to green at around 1:30 p.m. on Sunday.

Here are three reasons to think the No. 3 could end up in victory lane…

1) A Daytona 500 win from the pole has happened before. Not a lot, but more than any other starting position. The eventual winner has started from the pole nine times, most recently in 2000 when NASCAR Hall of Famer Dale Jarrett did it. Others to accomplish the feat: Fireball Roberts (1962), Richard Petty (1966), Cale Yarborough (1968, ’84), Buddy Baker (1980), Bill Elliott (1985, ’87) and Jeff Gordon (1999). The Coors Light Pole is the most prolific starting spot in Daytona 500 history. Starting positions Nos. 2 and 4 are second, with seven wins apiece.

2) Records are made to be broken – and Dillon already has snapped one. In winning the pole on Sunday, Dillon became the youngest pole winner in Daytona 500 history at 23 years, 9 months, 20 days. If he wins the Daytona 500, he’d also be the first Sunoco Rookie of the Year contender to do so. (Note: Though Trevor Bayne won the Daytona 500 in only his second start in 2011, he was not registered for the Sunoco Rookie of the Year Award competition).

3) Dillon’s no slouch at Daytona. In four NASCAR Nationwide Series starts there, Dillon has finished in the top five in three of them. This is Dillon’s second Daytona 500 start; the first came last year in the No. 33, when he finished 31st. Likewise, Dillon’s crew chief is no Daytona slouch, either. Last year, with driver Kevin Harvick, Martin won two of his three starts during Speedweeks, and finished third in the July Daytona race.

WDUN will have live coverage from MRN Radio of the Feb. 23 running of Sunday’s Daytona 500 beginning at Noon on 102.9 FM and at 1 pm on 550 AM.

NASCAR Nationwide Series: Ty Dillon Follows Up His Brother’s Championship Run In The No. 3

When Richard Childress Racing announced the news late last year that reigning NASCAR Nationwide Series champion Austin Dillon was moving full time to the NASCAR Sprint Cup Series in 2014, his departure guaranteed a new champion would be crowned in 2014 while also opened a seat in the No. 3 Chevrolet.

Enter Austin’s younger brother Ty Dillon. The younger grandson of team owner Richard Childress moves up from the NASCAR Camping World Truck Series where he was the championship runner-up to Matt Crafton in 2013. In 2012, Dillon won the series’ Sunoco Rookie of the Year honor.

Ty, two years younger than Austin, leads a young, talented group of Sunoco Rookie of the Year contenders that also includes Dawsonville, GA’s Chase Elliott, Dylan Kwasniewski and Ryan Reed. Dillon hopes that some of his brother’s success in the No. 3 rubs off. In addition to his title in 2013, the older Dillon won the series’ Sunoco Rookie of the Year award the previous year.

When the NASCAR Nationwide contingent arrives in Daytona for Saturday’s DRIVE4COPD 300, Ty brings with him a limited resume in the series. In nine series starts, the 21-year-old North Carolina native has one top-five finish (third at Indy in 2012) and four top-10 finishes.

In last year’s July Daytona race – his only NNS start at the 2.5-mile superspeedway – he finished on the lead lap in 27th position. In two truck series starts at the track, he has finishes of ninth (2012) and sixth (2013). He led 56 of 100 laps in the 2013 truck series event.

The three other rookies have never competed in a national series event on the high banks of Daytona. Of the three only Reed has competed in a NASCAR Nationwide race. In 2013, he ran six races for Roush Fenway Racing with a best finish of ninth at Richmond International Raceway.

WDUN will have live coverage from MRN Radio of NASCAR Nationwide Series season opening Drive 4 COPD 400 from Daytona International Speedway on Saturday, Feb. 22 on 102.9 FM beginnng at 11 AM.

NASCAR Camping World Trucks: Sauter Looks To Make History This Weekend At Daytona

No one was better on the high banks in 2013 than Johnny Sauter. Sauter became the first driver since Todd Bodine in 2008 to sweep the Daytona International Speedway and Talladega Superspeedway races in the same season. Sauter will try to make more history Friday night in the NextEra Energy Resources 250.

If Sauter can win again at DIS he will match one of Bodine’s series records. Bodine is the only driver to ever win back-to-back NASCAR Camping World Truck Series races at Daytona, which he did in 2008-09.

Sauter won three times in 2013, also taking a win at Martinsville in the spring. He and his teammate, Matt Crafton, kept ThorSport Racing at the top of the driver standings all season. This year, Sauter will try and avoid a midseason slump that cost him a chance at the 2013 title

The Wisconsin native rebounded after the challenging summer stretch in the schedule to finish the season with seven top-10 finishes over the final eight races, ending the year fourth in points.

Sauter has nine career series wins and enters the season having won at least one race over the past five seasons – most among current drivers.

Sauter will also have new colors this year on his No. 98 Toyota Tundra with nextant aerospace stepping up to sponsor 12 races as primary sponsor and associate sponsor for the remaining 10 events on the 2014 schedule.

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