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Austin Dillon ‘lit and fired up’ for 2019 with changes at RCR

Austin Dillon and Danny Stockman are teaming up next year after spending several years apart, and their winning past may give them an advantage over other teams.

A new crew chief and a new teammate means a new opportunity for Austin Dillon in 2019 at Richard Childress Racing.

After five years apart, Danny Stockman returns to be Dillon’s crew chief in 2019. The pair collaborated on a Camping World Truck Series title in 2011 and a Xfinity championship in 2013.

Dillon also will have a new teammate in rookie Daniel Hemric, who replaces Ryan Newman.

“I think we can change the culture in our shop, I really do,” Dillon said of he and Hemric on Wednesday in Las Vegas. “His passion and his ability to know the mechanics of the car, he’s worked on race cars his entire life. He does a really good job of explaining what he needs in the car. I think we can work with each other well.

“Danny Stockman coming up to the shop as my new crew chief, a guy I had a lot of success with in the past … it will be a great year next year.”

Dillon, who will serve as a reporter for NBCSN’s coverage from the red carpet (8-9 p.m. ET) before tonight’s NASCAR Cup Series Awards, referenced the culture of the shop when he talked more about Stockman.

“Having that familiar voice back on the radio for me is going to be huge,” Dillon said. “I know what kind of passion he has for the sport and the amount of effort that he’s going to put in next year. He’s going to set the bar high at RCR. That’s the culture that we have to have to become another champion in the Cup Series. That’s our ultimate goal is to win all three championships, and now we have the opportunity to do it together again. I’m lit and fired up to go after it.

“I’ve missed him from the moment we separated. He’s always been there for me, always believed in me. I think it was good to have the five years apart because we both got better having to work with other people and be more open about working with other people. I can’t wait to get back together and see what we’velearned away from each other and then bring that chemistry that we already have.”

Dillon is coming off a season where he won the Daytona 500 to make the playoffs. He was eliminated in the first round and finished 13th in the points. Even so, the playoffs represented the best stretch of the season for Dillon. He had four top-10 finishes and placed 11th or better in seven of the 10 races.

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