Rising star Dillon in new ESPN NASCAR Nationwide Series campaign

After two weeks off, the NASCAR Nationwide Series will be returning to racing on Friday night, April 13, at Texas Motor Speedway, and one of the cars running up front in the 300-mile race undoubtedly will be the black No. 3 driven by Austin Dillon.

Dillon will become more familiar to regular viewers of ESPN this week when a new promotional spot featuring him entitled “The Next Generation” begins airing across ESPN networks.

The 21-year-old Dillon is the leading rookie in the NASCAR Nationwide Series this season. He is the second Nationwide Series driver this year to be featured by ESPN in its promotional campaign for the series, joining 2011 series champion Ricky Stenhouse Jr. All races on the series air on ESPN networks, with the Texas race on ESPN2 at 8 p.m. ET.

The 30-second spot, which continues ESPN’s “Names Are Made Here” marketing campaign for the NASCAR Nationwide Series, traces Dillon’s career through go karts, dirt tracks and the NASCAR Camping World Truck Series, where he was series champion last year.

“The process of filming the ‘Names are Made Here’ commercial was pretty cool,” said Dillon.

“It’s amazing how many hours of preparation go into producing a 30-second spot. We went to Charlotte Motor Speedway and spent the whole day filming. I enjoy that part of the sport –the media side of things.”

At the end of the spot, a team member opens a garage door to reveal the No. 3 car that Dillon is driving this season.

“Here you go, Austin,” the man says. “She’s ready when you are.”

NASCAR fans know the connection, and others will learn through the spot.

The No. 3, owned by Dillon’s grandfather, longtime NASCAR team owner Richard Childress, has returned to regular use on a car this year for the first time since NASCAR legend Dale Earnhardt’s death in the 2001 Daytona 500.

The new ESPN spot, produced by Wieden + Kennedy New York, reflects the magnitude of the return of the number.

“It’s a privilege and I feel very fortunate to be running the No. 3,” said Dillon.

“It’s been made famous by Dale Earnhardt and a lot of other drivers have had a lot of success with it. I have a great time running it. It’s been a big part of my family and I think the fans love seeing it out there. It means a lot that the fans support it.”