Ty Dillon boasts confidence for rookie season
February 04, 2014, Kenny Bruce, NASCAR.com
“I plan on running for the championship for sure right off the bat,” Dillon said. “Winning three or four races. I have a great team that’s been in the series for a couple of years now, won the championship, so I know I have the guys behind me. They’re going to give me great race cars.
“It’s up to me to be a quick learner as a rookie and go out and achieve my goals.”
Dillon failed to win a title in the Truck Series, but did finish in the top five in points twice, including a runner-up finish this past year.
Although he knows the transition between series will have its difficulties, Dillon will be surrounded by familiar faces, many of whom helped guide older brother Austin to the 2013 NNS title. The “getting-to-know-you” phase will be a non-factor.
“I don’t think it will be long because I know the guys so well and have been around them at the race track so much with Austin racing and been involved in so many of their meetings,” Dillon said. “I think our race education together is going to be pretty quick for us to come together. Danny Stockman (crew chief) and the guys are very smart and very good communicators.”
Dillon and Stockman, a championship winning crew chief with Austin Dillon in the Truck and Nationwide Series, have a history, although a short one.
“He actually was my crew chief for four ARCA races,” Dillon said, “and we won three of them.
“We know how to communicate, we’ve worked together in the past and I think it will be a great year.”
The Nationwide Series schedule includes 11 more events than the Truck schedule, and Dillon said he is looking forward to the extra track time.
“Being able to race week-in and week out I feel like is a little bit of an advantage for me -- I love being able to get in a groove; the more I can race the better I feel like I can get it,” he said. “I’m looking forward to being out there every weekend, and getting a lot of racing in.”
Dillon scored Truck Series wins at Atlanta, Texas and Kentucky. In five starts at Texas, he posted four top-five finishes; in four starts at Kentucky, he managed three top-fives. But while he might feel more comfortable where he’s run well in the past, Dillon said he doesn’t use that as a gauge for where he should continue to excel. Every weekend, he said, is a new opportunity.
“I always leave my mind open to be able to run good anywhere,” he said. “I don’t ever say ‘this is my track, I’ve got to do good this weekend’ because when you’re looking forward to one weekend, you kind of forget about the one you’re into now.
“So I take every weekend like an opportunity I can win, and feel confident everywhere I go.”