Are we underappreciating Austin Dillon?

DAYTONA BEACH, Fla — There’s no doubt about it, Austin Dillon gets a lot of negative feedback in the NASCAR world. A major part of this is because he’s Richard Childress’ grandson and a lot of people think he was spoon fed to get here as a NASCAR Cup Series driver. Another layer to this is because he’s driving the 3 car that Dale Earnhardt made famous. The final layer is that he’s not winning enough.

Add all 3 up and you get why fans talk down about Dillon. However, are we downplaying his success?

No, Dillon isn’t a future Hall of Famer. So we can cross that off the list right from the get go. However, it’s not like he’s a slouch though either.

He has 4 Cup wins in 326 career starts but look at what he’s won. The Daytona 500, the Coca-Cola 600 and the Coke Zero Sugar 400. While all could be seen as somewhat flukes, at the end of the day, he won them. Everyone had the same opportunity as Dillon did and he triumphed. You can’t fault him for that.

It’s also more about Cup racing too. He won the 2011 Truck Series championship as well as the 2013 Xfinity Series title. He was rookie of the year in both the year prior to each too. He has 9 Xfinity Series and 7 in the Truck Series. Combined, that 2 championships and 20 national touring series wins including a Daytona 500 and Coke 600.

That’s why I don’t think we should rush to judgment on Dillon and saying he’s a bust. For a driver that’s made 5 playoff appearances in the last 7 years and has those type of accomplishments, it’s fair to say that he’s at the very minimum an average NASCAR driver and that’s all you can ask for.

Not everyone can be great. Not everyone is bad. Sometimes drivers fall in the middle and that’s where Dillon to me resides. That’s not necessarily a bad thing.

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