Stock Car Racing NASCAR Ty Dillon
Cup move a tear-jerker for Ty Dillon
Monday, 30 January 2017
Kelly Crandall / Images by LAT
Having lived and breathed NASCAR racing since he was born, the emotions overcame Ty Dillon when it was official that he would be competing at the sport's highest level this year.
There were tears. A lot of tears.
"That moment when the deal was done to officially be driving for Germain Racing in the GEICO 13 car and to have my shot at the Monster Energy Cup Series was surreal," Dillon, 24, said last week during the NASCAR Media Tour (image courtesy of German Racing). "I remember driving down the road and first called my wife (Haley) and told her it was a done deal and just started bawling on the phone. Then I called my mom and bawled."
Austin Dillon, Ty's older brother, confirmed the crying. He also said there was a hug.
While Austin lightheartedly called the moment "cute," he too was proud and happy for his brother. The two heirs of Richard Childress Racing will continue to be teammates with Germain Racing, where Ty will drive, having a technical alliance with Childress, where Austin has driven since 2014.
"It's special," said Austin Dillon (at left, above, with Richard Childress and Ty). "He's put a lot of effort into it, and that's what he's wanted to do his entire life. I'm happy for him, and he should be happy, and he should be excited. Now it's time where the work really begins; looking forward to working with him. I think he's an asset to RCR."
Ty Dillon has made 18 Cup starts over the past three seasons as he ran a full-time Xfinity Series schedule (pictured). He earned one win in 111 starts and finished in the top five in points each year.
But Dillon has always eyed the Cup Series, a place his grandfather Richard Childress dominated in the 1980s and '90s with Dale Earnhardt. The racing bug also caught Dillon's father, Mike, who today serves at the general manager of RCR. Mike Dillon made 158 starts in NASCAR's three national series.
It was only natural Austin and Ty gravitated to anything with four wheels as soon as they could walk. On his way to the top, Ty Dillon spent time in just about everything. Bandoleros gave way to the K&N Pro Series East where Dillon made 11 starts between 2009-'10 and earned one win.
The ARCA Racing Series went much better as Dillon dominated the 2011 season (pictured, photo courtesy of ARCA). Seven wins, seven poles and 13 top-five finishes in 19 races was more than enough for Dillon to win the championship. His gap over second place was 340 points, and he bested a driver he fought for the championship in the Xfinity Series just a few years later, Chris Buescher.
The Camping World Truck Series and Xfinity followed the ARCA title. In 2017, Dillon will balance making 20 Xfinity starts with a now full Cup slate.
"In my heart, I feel like I'm the best driver and if I didn't have that kind of confidence, I wouldn't be driving a racecar," Dillon said when asked what makes him feel ready for the next level. "I knew I was ready for this opportunity, that I've proved (it) in different situations. The wins weren't what we wanted in the Xfinity Series the past couple of years, but we were also growing as a team and changing as a team, and RCR had a lot of different things going on.
"We will win Xfinity races this year; I can guarantee you that. We have a lot of great things going on, a lot of positive momentum with that side of the program ... We're not done on that side yet. We got a lot of races to win, yet."
Rookie of the Year honors will be the primary goal on the Cup side, and Dillon is part of a talented group eyeing the award, including last year's Xfinity champion Daniel Suarez as well as 2015 Truck Series champion, Erik Jones.
Dillon's time is now; he's made it to the pinnacle of the sport. However, emotion aside, Dillon is not yet satisfied.
"I know you say I've made it, which is obviously a big moment for me in my life, but I still have a lot to accomplish," Dillon said. "Going off what my hero, my grandfather, said the other night (when he was inducted into the NASCAR Hall of Fame) that he feels like he still hasn't made it, and that's how I kind of feel. I'm not going to be satisfied until I win races and win championships."
01-31-2017 01:50 PM
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