Cereal, youth will be served on track

A recent press release from Richard Childress Racing announced that NASCAR Nationwide Series standout Austin Dillon will make his Daytona 500 debut driving in the No. 33 Honey Nut Cheerios Chevrolet in 2013.

The move follows an arrangement between RCR and General Mills.

The paint scheme for the 55th running of the Great American Race will also mark the NASCAR debut of Buzz, the official SpokesBee of Honey Nut Cheerios.

Dillon leads the Sunoco Rookie-of-the-Year standings and is currently ranked third heading into the final Nationwide Series race of 2012 — the Ford EcoBoost 300 in Homestead, Fla., on Saturday.

Since Dillon, being just 22, is not that far removed in age from the childhood staple, hed has a credible connection to cereal, but the race itself is of more significance.

“My family has so many memories of racing in the Daytona 500 so it is really special to me to be able to make my first Daytona 500 start,” Dillon said.

Being a third-generation RCR driver to make his debut in The Great American Race, that’s understandable.

But wait a minute, maybe the cereal holds a special place in the heart of Austin, whom we hereby dub “Delicious” Dillon.

“With the support of General Mills and America’s Favorite Cereal, Honey Nut Cheerios, I hope to continue RCR’s winning tradition on restrictor plate tracks with my pal Buzz on the hood of the No. 33 Honey Nut Cheerios Chevrolet,” Dillon said.

Especially if he’s on the hood, I’d like to think Buzz will feel a breeze at Daytona International Speedway when the race rolls around on Feb. 24.

In 2011, Dillon became the youngest NASCAR Camping World Truck Series champion in series history.

“Competing in the Daytona 500 is a major step in Austin’s career and we couldn’t be more proud than to have General Mills expand its program with RCR for a second year on the No. 33 Chevrolet SS,” said Richard Childress, president and CEO of Richard Childress Racing and Austin’s grandfather.

“Austin has made a number of Sprint Cup Series starts so he understands the pressures at NASCAR’s highest level but his first start in The Great American Race will be a special one.”

RCR is a two-time winner of the 500, with the legendary Dale Earnhardt in 1998 and Kevin Harvick in 2007 by 0.02-of-a-second — the closest margin of victory since the first race in 1959.

Having Cheerios as a sponsor could be the right mix to put Austin in the winner’s circle.

Honey Nuts and “Delicious” Dillon are a good fit.

Could Corn Flakes be far behind?

Ryan Blaney, the 18-year-old son of Sprint Cup veteran Dave Blaney, recently finished fifth in the Camping World Truck Series’ Lucas Oil 150 at Phoenix International Raceway.

Brian Scott won the race, followed to the line by Kyle Larson, Coulter and Timothy Peters.

The final Camping World Truck Series race is the Miami 200 at Homestead-Miami Speedway on Friday. The season finale race is scheduled to be televised live on SPEED beginning at 7:30 p.m. Eastern Time and broadcast live on Motor Racing Network beginning at 7:45 p.m.

John Bassetti is a sports writer at The Vindicator. E-mail him at bassetti@vindy.com

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