Austin Dillon's crew chief replacement should be a game-changer for the No. 3 team


When Austin Dillon finished 24th at Richmond – a track where he has performed well since 2018 – it was clear that something was wrong in the Richard Childress Racing camp.

This week, the team announced a crew chief change for the No. 3 Chevrolet. Keith Rodden will be moved to a leadership role at RCR, while Justin Alexander will reprise the position he held in 2017 and 2018 and 2020-22. Alexander led Dillon to all four of his Cup Series victories, including the 2018 Daytona 500.

“The organizational changes were made to support Richard Childress Racing's overall Nascar Cup Series program as we prepare for the remainder of the season and qualify two teams for the Nascar Playoffs,” said RCR Executive Vice President Andy Petree. in a statement. “Justin Alexander and Austin Dillon have a unique chemistry that has proven effective in the past. We would like to thank Keith Rodden for his leadership of the No. 3 team and know that the contributions he will continue to make to RCR in his new role will be valuable throughout the organization.”

Dillon is coming off his worst season ever in Cup Series competition. At the Bristol Dirt Race, he finished in the top five just once and in the top 10 seven times, en route to a career-worst 29th place finish in the standings. The difficulties were evident as new teammate Kyle Busch raced around the track and scored three wins with the No. 8 team in 2023.

Through the first seven races of the season, RCR's No. 3 team was uncharacteristically off the pace. Dillon's best finish is 16th at Las Vegas Motor Speedway, while Busch has two top-10 finishes.

Joel Keller is the No. 3 team's new lead engineer as RCR looks to get Dillon back to winning ways. His last victory came in August 2022 at Daytona in the playoff cutoff race.

The next Cup Series race is the Cook Out 400 at Martinsville Speedway, a track where Dillon has posted three top-five finishes, including a third-place finish in 2022.