Up-And-Coming Dillon Continues Racing Success
By K.J. Pilcher, Reporter
NEWTON – Get to know Ty Dillon, and he resembles an ordinary 20-year-old.
He will play an occasional round of golf, likes fishing, hunting and dirt bikes and is the owner of a new puppy that he is considering naming Bubba. The North Carolina native is extraordinary on a race track.
Dillon, the grandson of famed auto racing team owner Richard Childress, is considered one of the best young race car drivers. He will look for his first NASCAR Camping World Trucks Series victory Saturday at the American Ethanol 200 at Iowa Speedway in Newton. The race begins at 7:30 p.m.
Dillon and his older brother Austin, who is a full-time NASCAR Nationwide Series driver after winning the 2011 Trucks Series title, compete for Richard Childress Racing. Dillon is a confident driver, but remains humble, admitting they have a long way to climb the auto racing ranks.
“We put a lot of pressure on ourselves,” Dillon said. “We have a chance to bring some new blood to racing and add some new talent. We want to be the best. At the same time, you have to earn it.”
Dillon, who drives his brother’s old Black No. 3 Chevrolet, is tied with Justin Lofton for second in total points, trailing Timothy Peters by only four, in his first full season in the Trucks Series. In eight starts this season, the top rookie driver has finished in the top 10 in each, and has 10 straight dating back to two starts late last season. Dillon earned second place in the Kroger 250 in March, coming in behind NASCAR Sprint Cup Series driver Kevin Harvick. It was the first of two top-five finishes this season and third overall.
“We know our team is capable to do well,” Dillon said. “We’re very happy with our progress so far this season.”
One of the key factors is Dillon’s tremendous feel for cars and the track. He has been able to quickly adapt to the series and each track, realying the necessary information to his crew to tune the the truck for competition.
“I think it is a knack he has,” crew chief Marcus Richmond said. “I’ve had younger drivers before that can do it and I’ve had younger ones that couldn’t do it.
“I think he’s one of the ones that has that natural talent.”
Dillon’s latest start enforces his racing ability. He qualified fourth for the UNOH 225 at Kentucky Speedway, but started last in the 36-car field after having to replace the engine blown during practice. He maneuvered through the field to place third, grabbing the lead for a few laps.
“At the end of the day, that hurts him, the team and everybody,” Richmond said about mechanical trouble and lost practice time. “To overcome it, it says a lot for him and the team, both.”
One thing has eluded Dillon.
“We completed three-quarters of our goals,” said Dillon, noting he patiently awaits the chance for a full-time Nationwide Series ride after making his debut on the circuit with an eighth-place showing at the 5-hour Energy 200 at Dover International Speedway. “Our focus is to win races.”
If a perfect remedy existed for Dillon it would be Iowa Speedway. He made his ARCA Series debut at Iowa Speedway in 2010, winning the pole and finishing second. Last year, Dillon won the ARCA race at the 0.875-mile oval, eventually winning the ARCA Series championship in his rookie season on that tour. Austin Dillon won the 2010 Trucks Series Lucas Oil 200 at Iowa Speedway. The brothers have run many laps at the track, and Dillon is confident he can continue the RCR family success.
“It’s a track that fits my driving style,” Dillon said. “It’s knowing the track and how to race. We’re really excited to go there.”
Richmond said Dillon and his team have been on the verge of winning and likes the chances of reaching victory lane Saturday night.
“That’s what we’re thinking here at the shop,” Richmond said. “In these truck races, you need to have everything go 100 percent right to get that win. We’ve just had a few little things that just give us a hiccup that you end up finishing third, sixth or in that range.
“Finishing top-10, top-five and we got us a pole at Charlotte, so we’re on the right tract as a team and he’s on the right tract as a driver.”
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