DAYTONA BEACH, Fla. – The magic of Sunday night carried over to Monday morning at Daytona International Speedway, with 2018 Daytona 500 champion Austin Dillon honored at the annual Champion’s Breakfast in the speedway’s Bill France Room.
Dillon drove the No. 3 Dow Chevrolet Camaro owned by his grandfather Richard Childress to a historic victory in the 60th running of “The Great American Race,” the season-opening event for the Monster Energy NASCAR Cup Series. The victory came 20 years after Dale Earnhardt won the Daytona 500 in Childress’ No. 3 Chevrolet.
“It’s an amazing win,” Childress said Monday. “It’s almost like a storybook chapter in our life.”
A page in that chapter includes having the winning car put on display for one year, in the speedway’s Ticket and Tours Building. The No. 3 was signed by Dillon, Childress, crew chief Justin Alexander and all the other members of the champion’s team, to officially begin its “residence.”
“Truthfully, this all won’t sink in for a long time but seeing that race car, I want to go hug it,” said Dillon. “It’s a pretty race car.”
Monday morning was also a time for presentations from DIS President Chip Wile. Dillon received a Rolex Cosmograph Daytona Watch and black leather Champion’s Jacket, with jackets also given to Childress and Alexander. Childress got his Harley J. Earl Champion Owner’s Trophy. Alexander received the Cannonball Baker Trophy named for NASCAR’s first commissioner and given annually to the champion crew chief.
Wile and Dillon also unveiled the new logo for the 2019 DAYTONA 500.
On Sunday night after his victory, Dillon placed one foot and both hands in cement and signed his name on the square that will be added to the DAYTONA 500 Champion’s Walk of Fame outside the Ticket and Tours Building in July.
“I got 500 text messages last night,” Dillon said. “Haven’t looked through them all but I’m going to savor every moment of that.”
Dillon will be in New York on Tuesday for the traditional high-profile DAYTONA 500 champion’s media tour.
Then, it’ll be back to racing. The Monster Energy Series moves on to Atlanta Motor Speedway this weekend.
“We’re still trying to win races,” Dillon said. “This is the beginning, I feel like.”