AVONDALE, Ariz. -- In familiarity there is contentment for Danny Stockman and Austin Dillon.
Amid the setup sheets, the so-called "stealth notebook," and their obvious ability to build and drive fast race cars, that familiarity and trust may be the key advantage that the crew chief and the driver, respectively, possess two races from claiming their second NASCAR top-three touring series championship together.
In 2011, it was the Truck series title. If they can maintain their six-point lead over Sam Hornish Jr. this weekend at Phoenix International Raceway and then at Homestead-Miami Speedway, it will be the Nationwide crown.
With Dillon, 23, set to become a full-time Sprint Cup driver with Richard Childress Racing next season and Stockman, 31, still undecided on his future and focusing solely, he said, on the next two weeks, there is a sense that the friends are determined to complete what, given the transient nature of racing, could be one of their last great campaigns together.
"I can trust him to give me what I need, and he can trust me to give him the feedback he needs to make the car fast," Dillon said. "He's put together a team of racers. That's the cool thing about this No. 3 team. We're all racers at heart, and we're all willing to fight like dogs for what we want."
They were first paired in 2010 when Dillon, more known as the grandson of team owner Richard Childress, was getting a full-time chance to prove himself in the majors and Stockman was making his debut as a crew chief in a NASCAR top-three national touring series.
"I got him when he was young and didn't know much," Stockman joked. "And the only thing is he's getting a lot smarter now, so sometimes he thinks he knows a lot more than he does."
Dillon won two races in 2010 and amassed 16 top-10s and seven top-5s to be named series rookie of the year after finishing fifth in points. In 2011, they won twice and amassed 10 top-5s and 16 top-10s to capture the Truck title. They graduated to Nationwide together last year, where they produced two wins, 16 top-5s and 27 top-10s to finish third in points. This season, they are winless (Hornish has one) but have 12 top-5s, 21 top-10s and a lead to defend in hopes of another second-year celebration.
Friends off the track -- "We're like family. Danny Stockman is like a brother to me," Dillon said -- and trustful coworkers on it, they virtually finish each other's sentences, Stockman said.
"The relationship we have is pretty awesome. I love the kid. I know what he wants. I know what he's looking for," Stockman said. "The communication level between me and him is probably second to none. It's hard to get that. The kid is great to work with. We have a great relationship. I enjoy it."
Like Dillon, Stockman is lashed to racing by bloodlines. The son of former Truck series crew chief Gary, Stockman's grandfather Harry was a multi-championship-winning midget sprint car driver on the West Coast in the 1940s and 1950s and attempted to qualify for the 1953 Indianapolis 500 with Vic Edelbrock.
That Dillon and Stockman are relatively approximate in age helped their initial bond form, and their common interests continue to stoke the friendship.
"It definitely does help because we spend a lot of time together outside of the racetrack and the shop and stuff," Stockman said. "We go to dinner and go out on the nights we have off and spend a lot of time together besides racing. It's just a normal atmosphere. Being young and liking to do the same things always helps out with the relationship."
Four seasons, a championship and another within grasp -- and the personal and professional respect -- have created an intangible advantage. Stockman, sounding almost melancholy in mentioning how Dillon "is going to go Cup racing up there," said he expects Dillon to return part time to the Nationwide Series in the next few years to maraud trophies like Brad Keselowski and Kyle Busch.
"He definitely has a lot of trust in me and what I believe in as far as what I believe in and what direction we're going in and what we're doing," Stockman said. "I have the utmost respect and trust in him for what he's doing. And he's just good."
The feeling is obviously mutual.