Austin Dillon doing what he has to do so far in rookie year

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Going into the Easter break, Kyle Larson leads Austin Dillon in the NASCAR Sprint Cup Rookie of the Year standings after earning three Top-10s in the last four racesincluding a runner-up at Fontana.

And over in the Nationwide Series, Chase Elliott has gotten the NASCAR Nation buzzing after back-to-back victories at Texas and last Friday night at Darlington.

So has Dillon, who entered the season with the most controversy of any NASCAR rookie thanks to his and car owner Richard Childress’ revival of the famous No. 3, become the forgotten young gun?


While Larson has certainly had the more eye-popping moments in their duel for Cup ROTY honors, Dillon is doing the No. 1 job of any rookie and that’s logging laps and getting the car home in one piece.

Dillon has just one Top-10 (a ninth in the season-opening Daytona 500) to Larson’s four, but has earned six finishes inside the Top 20 and has no DNFs.

Larson’s been more up-and-down, with finishes of 38th at Daytona and 27th at Martinsville; additionally, before claiming his first Top 10 at Bristol, his best finish in the first three races was a 19th at Las Vegas.

As a result, Dillon sits 10th in the overall Sprint Cup championship, while Larson’s a bit farther back at 15th.

Dillon’s 11th-place showing at Darlington was, strangely enough, his third 11th-place finish of the season. So it’s not as if he’s that far off from Larson in regards to the more attention-grabbing results.

“We’re certainly on the cusp of finishing within the top-10,” he said on Saturday night. “We’ll take it. We worked hard tonight and I’m learning each week.

“I can’t wait to come to Darlington Raceway, and all of these tracks on the schedule, for the second and third times. We will be a very tough team the second half of this season.”

We’ll see if he’s right. He – and Larson – would be in the Chase Grid if the Sprint Cup regular season started today.

Newgarden fastest as Castroneves returns in weather-shortened Barber test

Photo: IndyCar
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The Verizon IndyCar Series took to Barber Motorsports Park on Tuesday for an open test, with 24 entries tackling the 2.38-mile road course.

Weather intervened in the afternoon, preventing nearly the entire field from going out, but the weather held off during the morning enough for one session to be run in its entirety.

Team Penske’s Josef Newgarden led the way, with a quick lap of 1:07.979, ahead of Team Penske teammates Will Power and Helio Castroneves. For Castroneves, this marked his first IndyCar outing of 2018.

Helio Castroneves was back in an IndyCar on Tuesday at Barber Motorsports Park. Photo: IndyCar

Sporting the Pennzoil “yellow submarine” paint scheme, Castroneves turned 41 laps around Barber in the morning session, with a quick lap of 1:08.315. He was also the only driver to venture out on track in the afternoon, completing eight laps.

The Dale Coyne Racing duo of Sebastien Bourdais and Zachary Claman De Melo completed the top five.

Results are below.