LOUDON, N.H. – NASCAR Cup Series (NCS) driver Ty Dillon may still be trying to earn his first trip to victory lane, but the 30-year-old grandson of NASCAR Hall of Fame team owner Richard Childress is hopeful his new Petty GMS team will soon be a race-winning, championship-contending team.
Dillon, the younger brother of current NCS driver Austin Dillon, is looking forward to visiting New Hampshire Motor Speedway (NHMS), where he holds an average finish of 19.8, for the July 17 Ambetter 301. Dillon recently spoke to NHMS in advance of New England’s only NCS race.
This is your first season with Petty GMS. Talk about the team and how the season’s going so far.
“It’s been a decent start to our year. It’s been really exciting to be racing for Petty GMS. The first half of the year was up and down. We had some highlights, and we had some frustrating moments, but really over the last three weeks, we’ve kind of turned a corner and had some good speed in our race cars and just have had some really bad luck. We had a mechanical issue that took us out of probably having a top-15 day in St. Louis, the tire shed didn’t really fall the way we needed it to in Sonoma, but we had good speed there, and then this weekend, we were really strong and were taken out not to our own doing. Our goal is to continue growing throughout the year and making strides. I think we’re starting to do that, certainly on the speed side of things. We just gotta get the results to fall into place, and we’re going to be right where we want to be and keep growing this program to where it’s a race-winning, championship-contending team.”
You come from a strong racing family with your grandfather Richard Childress, your dad Mike Dillon and your brother Austin Dillon. What advice have they given you over the years in how to navigate through your career?
“They’ve always been helpful, for sure, and I think my grandfather obviously has probably the most experience in understanding how a NASCAR driver’s career works out, but mostly you learn from watching how everyone else goes about their career on and off the track and what’s successful. I think I’ve done a good job of keeping my eyes and ears open to try to do the best I can and make the most of my career. I’ve had help along the way from good counsel.”
You’ve had five starts in the Cup Series at New Hampshire. You have an average finish of 19.8. How do you think the new NextGen car is going to perform here, and what can race fans expect to see from you on July 17?
“I think the car is going to perform really well at New Hampshire. I think it fits that style of racetrack very well. To me, I love racing at that speedway. It’s one of my favorite tracks we go to. I don’t know what it is about it, it really fits me, and I’ve had some really strong runs there in the past, so I’m excited to get there in our No. 42 Camaro and see what we can do. I think the fans are in for a really good show.”
Speaking of the fans. New England race fans are high-energy, they’re passionate. What does that do to help fuel you as a driver?
“Every time the stands are packed and the fans are bringing the energy, it just makes us have that much more juice when the race starts. We feel it, and it’s infectious, and I think it just adds to the race. I think you get better races when you have a bigger crowd. All of us drivers want to do more for a bigger show.”
What are some of your favorite stops when you come to New England?
“My wife and I like exploring and going out to the lakes and trying to find some new restaurants. We’re always looking for new places. It’s one of our favorite places to go and travel to as a family just because it’s so beautiful up in New Hampshire, and yeah, we’re excited to be there.”
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Photo Courtesy: Chris Graythen/Getty Images