Strengths – In 2018 look for Austin Dillon to be at his best at intermediate tracks, plate tracks and at short tracks, minus Richmond. One attribute I liked about Austin Dillon is that he was solid in the 2017 Playoffs by finishing between 11th and 16th in 8 of the 10 races.
Weaknesses – Flat tracks and road courses have proven to be tough track types for Austin Dillon.
One aspect that should be noted about Dillon is that his team rarely competes for “really good results”, and by that I mean top fives. Top tens are also somewhat a rarity (only 4 last year) and a typical good day for him is a low-double digits finish.
Track Type Fantasy Value Key = Elite > High > Medium-High > Medium > Low
Intermediate Track Fantasy Value – High
At intermediate tracks I view Austin Dillon as a “High” talent, but it’s a low-high. He’s capable of being a very respectable performer at these venues, but in terms of coming home with a really good result I wouldn’t count on it. Last season on this track type Dillon scored the 15th most points and had a 16.1 average finish. In 2016 he scored the 14th most points.
One aspect I liked about Dillon last year on this track type is that he showed improvement late in the season. In the Playoffs at these venues he scored the 14th most points, had a 14.3 average finish and had a result between 11th to 16th every race.
In 2018 on this track type I would typically look for Dillon to be a low-double digit to mid-teens performer on a regular basis. This upcoming season it will be interesting to see the impact of the new Camaro on this track type for Chevrolet drivers. I think it should be a plus because you know Chevy wanted to bring a more competitive car to the track.
Flat Track Fantasy Value – Medium
Flat tracks weren’t an area of strength for Austin Dillon in 2017. He wasn’t that good at either the bigger or the smaller flat tracks. Last season at the big flat tracks he scored the 19th most points, and at the smaller flat tracks he scored the 20th most points. Last year at the combined flat tracks he scored the 20th most points, in the three prior seasons he scored the 16th, 17th and 15th most points.
At the smaller flat tracks I think it’s fairly safe to expect a result between the mid-teens to about 20th. Last year on this sub-track type all six of his results were between 14th to 21st.
At the bigger flat tracks last year he finished 13th at Pocono in June, but finished 21st in both the July events at Indy and Pocono. At Pocono in 7 of his 8 races he’s finished between 13th to 21st. At Indy he’s been going thru a bad race / good race phase on a yearly basis so in theory he’s due for a good result in 2018.
Short Track Fantasy Value – Medium-High
Austin Dillon isn’t a bad short track driver, but I’ll note Richmond is a notable weakness. Last year in 3 of the 6 races on this track type he finished in the top 13. For the season minus the Bristol summer race that he wrecked in he had a 14.4 average finish.
Between the the three short tracks his best is Martinsville. Minus the spring race in 2015 when he had electrical problems he has a 12th place average finish. Last year he had results of 13th and 5th. It should be noted in the spring race he has back to back top fives. At Bristol he’s been a pretty respectable performer. He wrecked last summer but in 4 of the 5 races prior to that he’s finished in the top 13. Richmond is by far his worst. In 7 of his 8 races there he’s finished in the twenties and that of course isn’t very good. Last year Dillon had results of 20th and 21st.
Restrictor Plate Track Fantasy Value – High
Austin Dillon is a really strong restrictor plate driver. Last year on this track type he was a disaster having only finished in the top twenty once and that was a 19th in the Daytona 500. In the other three races he wrecked which led to his 38th place points ranking and 30th place average finish. In the three prior seasons on this track type his average points ranking was 1st (2016), 12th (2015) and 3rd (2014).
At both plate tracks he’s historically been a good performer. At Daytona in the six races prior to last season he finished in the top 14 every race and had an 8.5 average finish. In the six races at Talladega prior to last season minus spring 2015 when he had an engine failure he had a top 15 result every race and had a 10.8 average finish.
In 2018 on this track type I would look for him to be a strong performer who should finish low-teens or better every race as long as he avoids trouble on the track.
Road Course Track Fantasy Value – Medium
Austin Dillon’s not that great of a road course racer, adding a third to the mix in 2018 is to his detriment. On a good day on this track type he’s a high-teens performer. At Sonoma he’s been really bad. All four of his results are between 17th to 22nd. At Watkins Glen he’s been even worse having three straight finishes of 26th or worse on his resume.
In 2018 if you pick him on this track type don’t expect anything better than a high-teens finish.