Austin Dillon will return to the #3 Richard Childress Racing car for the NASCAR Cup Series‘ Dover International Speedway doubleheader. After missing last Sunday’s Go Bowling 235 due to COVID-19, he announced Thursday that he “is back”.
Dillon broke the news on Twitter by using a clip from the 1996 movie D3: The Mighty Ducks.
Dillon skipped Sunday’s race at the Daytona International Speedway road course after testing positive for COVID-19, the second Cup driver to miss time due to the virus and third in NASCAR’s national series. In his place, Xfinity Series driver Kaz Grala impressed by scoring a seventh-place finish in his Cup début.
Under NASCAR’s COVID-19 protocol, drivers who test positive must have two negative tests over a span of over twenty-four hours or exhibit no symptoms ten days after the first positive test. In Dillon’s case, he underwent the former process.
Dillon had been listed on the initial entry list for Dover, though RCR did not make any formal statement until the driver’s announcement. Despite missing a race, he is locked into the playoffs with his win at Texas Motor Speedway in July and only lost one position in the standings after Daytona, dropping from seventeenth to eighteenth.
“Richard Childress Racing’s NASCAR Cup Series driver Austin Dillon will return to competition for this weekend’s doubleheader at Dover International Speedway,” read a team statement. “Dillon, who originally tested positive for COVID-19 on Saturday morning, August 15 and missed the NASCAR Cup Series race at the Daytona International Speedway Road Course, has worked with NASCAR, his primary care physician and RCR’s health partners at Wake-Forest Baptist Health, and has had two negative COVID-19 test results at least 24 hours apart.
“We commend NASCAR for their efforts in providing a safe environment for all fans and competitors, thank everyone in the industry for their well wishes and enthusiastically welcome Austin Dillon back to competition.”
In thirteen career Cup starts at Dover, Dillon has two top-ten finishes.