On Friday Phoenix Racing announced that Austin Dillon will drive the No. 51 Chevrolet in the March 10th Sprint Cup Series race at Las Vegas Motor Speedway. The move is somewhat surprising considering that Dillon, the grandson of Richard Childress, will be driving a car that uses a Hendrick Motorsports engine.
TAG Heuer Eyewear will be on the No. 51 as the sponsor for the Las Vegas race with Dillon driving. The company which was already a sponsor with Dillon helped put the deal together.
Dillon, the 2011 Camping World Truck Series Champion, will run his second full Nationwide Series season in the No. 3 for RCR and is going to make his Daytona 500 debut in a fourth RCR Sprint Cup Series car numbered No. 33. He also plans to run about another five races in the No. 33 for RCR in 2013 and then move to Sprint Cup with RCR full time in 2014.
It was earlier expected that Regan Smith, who will drive the Daytona 500 in the No. 51 for Phoenix Racing, would compete in all the restrictor plate races and about 10 total races for Finch's team and AJ Allmendinger would be behind the wheel for the rest of them. However, that does not seem to be the case with this Austin Dillon announcement. Phoenix Racing has said that Allmendinger will drive the second race of the season at Phoenix International Raceway and now with Dillon in at the third race in Las Vegas, that means there will be three different drivers for the first three races of the season.
Finch is committed to racing 18-24 races this season and if more sponsorship can be found he would extend the schedule. It will be interesting week-to-week to see if the No. 51 is at the track and who the driver will be.
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