The worst kept secret of the NASCAR Sprint Cup Series silly season was finally made official on Wednesday.
Officials from Richard Childress Racing announced that reigning NASCAR Nationwide Series champion Austin Dillon will move up to the Sprint Cup Series full-time in 2014. Dillon will run a No. 3 Richard Childress Racing Chevrolet, markin the first time the number has been run in Sprint Cup Series competition since the death of seven-time series champion Dale Earnhardt in the 2001 Daytona 500.
Earnhardt was driving for Richard Childress Racing at the time of his death and spent the bulk of his Sprint Cup Series career competing with Childress as his car owner.
Dillon, the grandson of team owner Richard Childress, joins Ryan Newman and Paul Menard in the three-car Richard Childress Racing Sprint Cup Series stable.
“My grandfather and everyone at RCR have done a great job of not pushing me too quickly into the NASCAR Sprint Cup Series,” Dillon said in a release. “I feel like I’ve been able to spend adequate time in the NASCAR Camping World Truck Series and the NASCAR Nationwide Series preparing for this next step in my career. I am thrilled to be making this move with partners like Dow and Cheerios, along with some long-time partners who have supported me and RCR throughout my career. I am truly grateful and looking forward to this opportunity.”
In his first full season in NASCAR in 2008, Dillon finished second in the K&N Pro Series East standings to Montville’s Matt Kobyluck. He won the Camping World Truck Series championship in 2011. He has five career Camping World Truck Series victories in 55 series starts and two Nationwide Series victories in 77 career starts in the division.