(AP Photo/Chuck Burton)
CONCORD, N.C. (AP) The horde of 20-somethings and teenagers like Chase Elliott, Erik Jones and William Byron poised to take over NASCAR seems to grow larger every week. It might be time to add an older name in Austin Dillon to the "Who's next?" breakout list.
Dillon, a NASCAR veteran at 27, pulled off a stunning upset at Charlotte Motor Speedway on Sunday night, staying out of the pit on the final laps to make up ground and capture the Coca Cola 600 with established winners Kyle Busch and Martin Truex Jr. charging hard. Dillon had enough fuel to last to the checkered flag after sweeping past out-of-gas Jimmie Johnson two laps from the end.
The win gave Dillon his first trophy in the Cup series, brought the iconic No. 3 back to Victory Lane for the first time in 17 years and gave a boost to the team owned by his grandfather, Hall of Famer Richard Childress. Did it also put Dillon front and center among the next wave of racers supplanting retired or departing stars like Jeff Gordon, Tony Stewart, Carl Edwards and, after this season, Dale Earnhardt Jr.?