Austin Dillon will probably find a lofty perch atop a hauler with his grandfather Friday night to watch brother Ty’s bid to keep the Camping World Truck series championship in the family.
But James Buescher, the 22-year-old Texan who finished third in 2011 points behind Austin, can exact a measure of revenge in the 200-mile Ford EcoBoost 200 at 8 p.m.
Buescher arrives with a thin, 11-point advantage over Timothy Peters and only a 12-point margin over Ty Dillon, a talented 20-year-old rookie in the intensely competitive series that has produced 15 different winners in 21 races.
Austin and Ty are grandsons of Richard Childress, the team owner for whom the late Dale Earnhardt achieved six of his seven Sprint Cup championships. Both drive black No. 3s for granddad.
Though Austin Dillon has a remote chance to add the 2012 Nationwide Championship to his 2011 CWT series title this weekend, he admitted, “I’m more nervous for Ty … because I know how bad he wants it.”
He assured that Ty, who outgunned Sprint Cup star Kyle Busch for his inaugural truck series victory Aug. 31, is not one to buckle under pressure.
If events break so Ty Dillon overhauls Buescher and Peters to wear the crown, he would replace Austin as the youngest champion in series history.
“Austin’s pushing me to go and get the championship,” Ty said. “He wants to see me succeed. It has been a great year for us.”
For Ricky Stenhouse Jr. and Elliott Sadler, the 2012 Nationwide season has been an improved version of the 2011 one in which Stenhouse fended off Sadler for the championship.
Stenhouse, who next year will strap into the Roush Fenway Racing No. 17 Ford that 2003 Cup champion Matt Kenseth is leaving, concurred with Sadler that theirs has been a spirited but amicable rivalry trading on mutual respect.
Austin Dillon playfully expressed hope their healthy relationship will become strained during the Ford EcoBoost 300 Nationwide finale at 4:30 p.m. on Saturday. Austin still has a mathematical shot at the title, trailing Stenhouse by 25 points and Sadler by five, but needs both to encounter difficulty.
“I get along with both of them,” Dillon said impishly, “but I hope it gets nasty on Saturday, personally. I hope they door-slam each other off of turn four and I make it through the smoke.”
Timothy Peters described his approach to the truck championship showdown as “all or nothing.” But he’s energized by the presence of his biggest fan.
Wife Sara, due to deliver the couple’s first child in a few weeks, wasn’t allowed to travel to the Texas and Phoenix races the past two weeks. “[But] she got cleared by the doctor to come this weekend,” Peters said. “It was comforting for her to be with me on that plane this morning.”
Smiling, Peters said it “would be cool to welcome [his child] into the world as a championship dad.”