Look out NASCAR, Ty Dillon is ready "to explode" this season

Admittedly, Ty Dillon got a little down last season.

Look out NASCAR, Ty Dillon is ready "to explode" this season
Ty Dillon, Germain Racing Chevrolet
Ty Dillon, Germain Racing Chevrolet
Ty Dillon, Germain Racing Chevrolet
Ty Dillon, Germain Racing Chevrolet
Ty Dillon, Germain Racing Chevrolet
Ty Dillon, Germain Racing Chevrolet
Ty Dillon, Germain Racing Chevrolet
Ty Dillon, Germain Racing Chevrolet
Ty Dillon, Germain Racing Chevrolet, crash
Ty Dillon, Germain Racing Chevrolet
Ty Dillon, Germain Racing Chevrolet

That was then. This is now.

Dillon’s rookie season in the Monster Energy NASCAR Cup Series was full of challenges. He failed to earn a single top-10 finish with Germain Racing and ended up 24th in the series standings.

His top performances were a pair of 11th-place finishes late in the season at Talladega, Ala., and Phoenix.

But during Charlotte Motor Speedway’s Media Tour last week, there were few who could match Dillon’s enthusiasm about the 2018 season.

Nor are there many 25-year-olds in NASCAR – or any sport for that matter – who appear to be so self-aware and certain of what they want to do with their life.

“Having my little girl in the off-season helped put some things in perspective in my life and I have been trying to change my approach on some things,” Dillon explained. “I let the sport get me a little down, which sounds ridiculous in your rookie season.

“But I never really struggled in any of my previous rookie seasons, whether it was Trucks, Xfinity. I won races in my rookie season in both those series and was battling for championships all the way down to the end. Last year that wasn’t really the case.”

Dillon won seven races and the ARCA series championship in 2011. Since his move to NASCAR national series competition, he’s won three Truck races and has won win in the Xfinity Series. He finished second in the season standings in Trucks in 2013 and third in Xfinity in 2015.

Ty’s older brother, Austin Dillon, earned his first Cup series victory only last season, his fourth full-time season. Both are the grandsons of longtime NASCAR owner Richard Childress.

Optimistic for 2018

Ty said he began to notice some important performance changes late last season that he believes will bode well for the upcoming year.

“I feel like I’m one of the best restarters and one of the best guys at being aggressive at the right times and the right ways in this sport – and I think if you look at some of the statistics from last year I was one of the hardest chargers every week,” he said. “We always went forward.

“I know I have the ability to do it. It’s just making sure I stay in my process, stay in my lane and we’re going to grow at Germain. Our cars are going to get better and I know some things that I’m going to do better that are going to be better than last year.

“I’m excited for the growth of this year, and now I feel like I’m finally getting a grasp on what it takes to have an opportunity at the top level.”

That includes understanding the opportunities Dillon has as a young driver, trying to establish his space among a talented group of newcomers and some very successful veterans in this sport.

It’s important for him to open his eyes to new and better ways to approach his on-track performance, but Dillon also believes he has an opportunity to draw the attention of fans and allow them an insight to him as a person as well as a race car driver.

“I have such a platform and I don’t think a lot of people realize what we have. I’m not the top of the top of the sport right now, but I do have 150,000 followers on Twitter and have almost 50,000 on Instagram and that’s such a great platform to start exploding off of,” he said.

“Some people have to work 10, 15, 20 years to grow a platform like that and really grind it out. And all I really have done is drive race cars, something I’m really good at, to get to that point. My focus is to expand that and, like I said, the more eyeballs I get the more opportunities I’ll get, not only to grow myself and the passions I want to try to achieve outside of racing.

“Just like everyone else, there are a lot of things I want to be good at. I want to use that as a springboard to launch myself, and who knows where this career is going to go.”

An inside look

Dillon said he plans to video-blog his entire 2018 season in hopes of giving fans an insider look into his year. He said he’s hired someone who will attend 36 different events with him this season, mixing it up among races, personal activities and sponsor appearances.

“I think something that has bothered me about our sport is in the 1990s and 2000s everybody said they could relate so well to Dale Earnhardt. That’s why they loved him. He was obviously the top level of fandom in our sport,” Dillon said.

“He did such a great job of making people feel they are just like Dale Earnhardt even though he’s a race car driver. I feel like I can do that. I just have to give them a better platform, so I’m going to do that and it’s the fans’ opportunity this year to get to know me.

“Everybody is passionate about something. I want people to see what fuels me, whether it’s my family, whether it’s sports, whether it’s racing. I’m going to open up and (let them) see me for who I am and that they can relate to me, too, as a human.”

Dillon is under no illusion that he cannot please everyone. No matter what he does, there will be those on social media who will offer a negative response for something. In fact, he already experience plenty of “blowback” as he calls it.

“That doesn’t bother me; that’s not going to affect me because I’m not a person that hates. I’m also a person that doesn’t talk before they know something,” he said. “I kind of have gotten the persona of the quiet, kind of reserved person.

“But it’s more or less of as I’ve been in this sport, I watch and I listen. I see what people are doing right and I see what people are doing wrong. And when I feel confident in myself and know what I’m going to do, I’m going to explode.

“I’m going to take my personality and let people see it. I’m not a flash in the pan. I plan on building a legacy and what I want to do and who I want to be.”

It’s clear he’s just getting started.

 

shares
comments
Kyle Busch: 2017 title loss "painful" because of how close it was
Previous article

Kyle Busch: 2017 title loss "painful" because of how close it was

Next article

Team building pays off for Joey Logano and Penske crew

Team building pays off for Joey Logano and Penske crew
Load comments
How Larson took the long way round to NASCAR Cup glory Prime

How Larson took the long way round to NASCAR Cup glory

From villain to hero, Kyle Larson had to reach his lifelong goal the hard way and go through a very public shaming after a ban for using a racial slur, but his talents shone long before his name grabbed the headlines...

NASCAR Cup
Nov 10, 2021
How NASCAR is gearing up for its "biggest change" in 2022 Prime

How NASCAR is gearing up for its "biggest change" in 2022

It’s not just Formula 1 that’s set for upheaval in 2022, as the NASCAR Cup series adopts its Next Gen cars that will cast any in-built advantages aside and require teams to adopt a totally new way of operating. Far more than just a change of machinery, the new cars amount to a shift in NASCAR's core philosophy

NASCAR Cup
Oct 12, 2021
Why Bubba Wallace’s Talladega win is such a big moment for NASCAR Prime

Why Bubba Wallace’s Talladega win is such a big moment for NASCAR

Bubba Wallace claimed his maiden NASCAR Cup Series at Talladega on Monday to become the first Black victor in the category since Wendell Scott in 1963. Both Wallace and Scott had faced obstacles and racism in their paths to their breakthrough wins, and NASCAR is trying to put it right with its range of diversity programmes

NASCAR Cup
Oct 5, 2021
Why NASCAR's most resilient driver has landed on his feet at 23XI Prime

Why NASCAR's most resilient driver has landed on his feet at 23XI

In a career that has had many ups and downs, Kurt Busch has been written off many times before. But facing career uncertainty after the sale of Chip Ganassi's NASCAR team, the 2004 Cup champion has found a new berth at Denny Hamlin and Michael Jordan's 23XI organization - which underlines his enduring value

NASCAR Cup
Aug 31, 2021
From the archive: Dale Earnhardt’s final Autosport interview Prime

From the archive: Dale Earnhardt’s final Autosport interview

The death of Dale Earnhardt in the 2001 Daytona 500 shocked NASCAR to the core. At the Daytona 24 Hours, two weeks before his fatal accident, ‘The Intimidator’ shared his expectations of challenging for an eighth Cup title with JONATHAN INGRAM, in an article first published in the 15 February 2001 issue of Autosport magazine. Little did we know then what tragedy would unfold…

NASCAR Cup
Feb 18, 2021
The lasting NASCAR legacy after Dale Earnhardt’s death Prime

The lasting NASCAR legacy after Dale Earnhardt’s death

On February 18, 2001, seven-time NASCAR Cup champion Dale Earnhardt – the fearless ‘Intimidator’ – was in his element at Daytona International Speedway. While his own DEI team’s cars ran 1-2 towards the finish line, his famed #3 Richard Childress Racing Chevrolet Monte Carlo was playing rear gunner to block any late runs from the chasing pack. As the cars tore through Turns 3 and 4 on that fateful final lap, Earnhardt maintained the strongarm tactics that encapsulated his persona… but his actions in those moments sadly proved to be his last.

NASCAR Cup
Feb 18, 2021
Inspired by Pitbull, the “revolution” sweeping through NASCAR Prime

Inspired by Pitbull, the “revolution” sweeping through NASCAR

The NASCAR Cup Series is changing. Whether it be the gradual morphing out the seasoned drivers of yesterday as the next generation step up, a radical calendar shake-up featuring more road courses than ever before and the prospect of an all-new car on the horizon, stock car racing’s highest level is nearing the end of a huge facelift.

NASCAR Cup
Feb 16, 2021
The NASCAR storylines to watch out for in 2021 Prime

The NASCAR storylines to watch out for in 2021

This weekend's Daytona 500 kickstarts a NASCAR Cup season that promises plenty of intrigue courtesy of new owners and a refreshed calendar. Here's what you need to know ahead of the new season…

NASCAR Cup
Feb 13, 2021