TALLADEGA, Ala. (AP) —Austin Dillon was safe at home twice this week.

He beat the relay throw to the plate and scored on a triple and a throwing error in a celebrity NASCAR softball game.

Even more impressive, Dillon survived the wreckage at Talladega Superspeedway and crossed the finish line with a career-best third-place finish. Dillon's car got plenty banged-up Sunday. It needed 16 pit stops and its entire front was duct taped to reach the finish.

With the famed number 3 on his car and deep bloodlines in the sport, Dillon has started to fulfill some of the promise heaped on him early in his career. His three top-five finishes are two more than he had over his first two full seasons and his five top 10s match last year's total.

Maybe Dillon isn't an intimidating threat to win a championship, yet. But winning a race doesn't sound so far-fetched this season.


More From 1460 ESPN