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Dillon happy to be called 'Austin's little brother'

February 04, 2012, Mark Aumann,

Ty hoping to follow older brother's career path, all the way to championship

Austin Dillon's little brother? If that's supposed to be a taunt in some way, Ty Dillon is actually flattered. To him, any comparison to the driver who won the 2011 Truck Series champion is a compliment -- especially if down the road, he can equal or exceed Austin's wins and championships.

When your grandfather is the guy who owns Richard Childress Racing and your father is Mike Dillon, big things are expected of you -- even if you're the little brother. And 19-year-old Ty Dillon feels he's more than ready to step into the spotlight.

"It doesn't bother me, but if I win races, I'll make a name for myself. I'll grow my own identity. But it almost means more to me that the Dillon brothers are winning races and going to the top in NASCAR."


"It doesn't bother me, but if I win races, I'll make a name for myself," Ty Dillon said during NASCAR's preseason media tour. "I'll grow my own identity. But it almost means more to me that the Dillon brothers are winning races and going to the top in NASCAR.

"It means more to me to support our family and the hard work that my grandfather and my dad have put into this company and the development of our racing careers. Either way it comes, that's fine with me. I'm just here to race and I want to win races. That's my main focus."

Ty had his own ARCA championship to celebrate in 2011. Now he's stepping up into Austin's Truck ride for 2012: admittedly some big shoes to fill. Austin won at Nashville and Chicago -- along with 16 top-10 finishes -- on his way to the championship.

But Ty sees no reason why he can't pick right up from where his big brother left off, especially after finishing third at Texas and sixth at Homestead in a three-race "preview" at the end of last season designed to let Dillon get his feet wet before leaping headfirst full-time into the series this year.

"I've got the trucks that won a championship last year, so I have all the resources and the ability to do it," Ty Dillon said. "I have confidence in myself and my guys that we can go out there and get it done. It's just going to be overcoming our bad days and making them good."

Much of Ty Dillon's confidence comes from watching how Austin came into the series full-time as a 19-year-old in 2010 and finished fifth in the points after winning twice. Ty Dillon won't turn 20 until the day after the Daytona 500, so the parallels are there.

"[Austin] did such a great job of developing this Truck program, back to what it used to be when the series started and we had a team in it," Dillon said. "He and his crew chief did a great job -- and Joey Coulter also. And the three races that I ran, I leaned on them a lot. And I'm sure I'll be leaning on them again this year."

It doesn't hurt that Ty's driving style mirrors Austin's in some ways. But Ty admits there are some subtle differences.

"We were raised the same way, so we're very similar in the way we drive," Ty Dillon said. "We've both run a lot of dirt races and everything he's done, I've done right after.

"But he's a little more high-strung and I'm more laid back. Everything about your personality kind of relates back into your driving style."

There's a determined confidence in the way Ty Dillon fields questions about his short but successful racing career, much like the way he expects to attack the track and the competition every weekend. He believes he has the talent, the equipment and the drive to succeed. And having to learn as he goes this season only makes him hungrier to go out and prove it.

"I like to see all of the tracks as my strengths," Dillon said. "If I find a weakness, I try to capitalize on it. Not that I'm being cocky about it. It's that I'm not going to let any track make me discouraged."

And if he is able to accomplish the goals he's set for himself, maybe there'll come a time when people will refer to Austin as "Ty Dillon's big brother."