DAYTONA BEACH, Fla. — One of Austin Dillon‘s crew members congratulated the Daytona 500 winner Monday morning by giving him a slap on the butt.
Dillon cringed. As they say: No pain, gain.
Dillon and some of his crew members celebrated their victory Sunday night — er, Monday morning — by getting tattoos on their posteriors. Dillon’s included the Daytona 500 logo with the word “champ” underneath it. At least he said that’s the way it appears.
“You’ll never be able to see it,” he quipped during the winner’s news conference Monday morning at Daytona International Speedway. “It’s a pretty cool looking today. [My wife] Whitney is probably the only one that is going to see it for a while.”
Amazingly, Dillon wasn’t along far enough into the celebration to feel no pain in getting the tattoo.
“It hurt,” Dillon said. “It feels OK this morning, but one of my boys smacked me on the butt when I came over here, and I was like, ‘Easy, guys.'”
Other crew members got a “wolfpack” tattoo that many others on the team already have from an outing a few years ago in Daytona Beach. They had discussed those who didn’t have them getting them this weekend if Dillon could put the iconic No. 3 car into Victory Lane.
“We had talked if we won the Daytona 500, there were going to be a couple of us initiated into the ‘wolfpack,'” said shock specialist Clay Alexander, who is in his fourth year with the team. “This isn’t something we’re messing around with.
“This is a real deal. I’m going to have it for the rest of my life. I’m pretty hard core about the 3 car and what I’m doing, and I’m very proud to have it. … It’s a pretty sacred thing. It’s kind of surreal.”
It was the first tattoo for Alexander.
“This is definitely my first tattoo,” Alexander said. “My grandmother would be very disappointed in me right now, but I think she would understand.”
Team owner Richard Childress didn’t get one, although he admitted he might have if he was out with the crew celebrating. Crew chief Justin Alexander also has no new ink.
“He chickened out,” Dillon said.
Either that, or Alexander was using it as motivation.
“I didn’t get one,” Alexander said. “If we win a championship, I’ll get a tattoo on my face.”
Dillon had a quick response: “Everybody document that.”
Obviously still giddy from earning his second career victory in leading just one lap — the final lap — Dillon will relish victory, which came 20 years after Dale Earnhardt won the Daytona 500 in the No. 3 car and 17 years to the day since Earnhardt’s death.
“This is really cool,” Dillon said. “You don’t get these opportunities to run in the Cup series unless something special happens. … There’s nothing like it.”