Story By: SHANNON STEPHENS / NHMS – LOUDON, NH – 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.”
New Events and Fan-Favorites Will Support New England Children in Need During NASCAR Weekend
NASCAR weekend at “The Magic Mile” is all about fast cars and passionate fans, but it’s also about New England race fans coming together to support kids in need throughout the region. The New Hampshire Chapter of Speedway Children’s Charities (SCCNH), the official charity of New Hampshire Motor Speedway (NHMS), has lots of fun ways for fans to make race weekend memories while also making a difference, including traditional events and new ones.
“Last year’s fundraising was a lot of fun and so successful. I’m thrilled to not only bring those events back, but add a couple new events this year,” said Danielle Cyr, director of the New Hampshire Chapter of Speedway Children’s Charities and marketing for New Hampshire Motor Speedway. “New England race fans are truly the best, and they always step up to the plate when it comes to helping local kids in need.”
Cornhole Tournament Presented by NBT Bank | Thursday, July 14
The inaugural NASCAR weekend Cornhole Tournament Presented by NBT Bank is a new fundraising event that will be a four-game round robin leading in to a playoff bracket. The first-place team will win two suite seats for Sunday’s Ambetter 301 NASCAR Cup Series (NCS) race. Prizes will also be awarded to the second and third place teams. Check-in and practice will begin at 2 p.m. Thursday, July 14 in the Fan Zone, and the tournament will start promptly at 3 p.m. Advance registration ($60 per two-person team) is required at SpeedwayCharities.org.
Laps for Charity | Thursday, July 14
Anyone who’s ever dreamed of being a race car driver can make it come true on Thursday, July 15 from 5-7:30 p.m. Laps for Charity offers anyone with a need for speed the opportunity to drive his or her own vehicle or ride in the official NHMS pace car on “The Magic Mile.”
Fans can purchase three paced group laps in a personal vehicle or a ride in the NHMS pace car plus a photo in victory lane for $40. For those seeking a more exclusive experience, three-lap VIP sessions as the only vehicle trailing the pace car on the 1.058-mile oval along with a photo in victory lane are available for $100. Limited spots are available and advance registration is required at SpeedwayCharities.org.
Sign the Track Wall Banner | Friday, July 15 – Saturday, July 16
Race fans can make their mark on the NCS race at NHMS. For just $5, fans can Sign the Track Wall Banner at the NHMS display in the Fan Zone, Friday and Saturday, July 15-16. The banner will be placed on the racetrack wall Sunday morning for the Ambetter 301.
50/50 Raffle Presented by PPG | Friday, July 15 – Sunday, July 17
Fans can win big with the second annual NASCAR weekend 50/50 Raffle Presented by PPG. Tickets will be sold at The Flat Track during Friday Night Dirt Duels Presented by New England Racing Fuel Friday, July 15, at the NHMS display in the Fan Zone and at a tent in the gap between the Concord and Main Grandstands all day Saturday, July 16 and through the end of stage two of Sunday’s Ambetter 301 NCS race. Ticket sellers will be roaming around the property as well. The winner of half of the jackpot will be announced during stage three of Sunday’s Ambetter 301. The other half goes directly to SCCNH. Last year’s winner took home over $40,000!
Track Walk Presented by PPG | Saturday, July 16
A fan-favorite returns to NASCAR weekend with Saturday’s walk around “The Magic Mile” July 16 from 8-9 a.m. NCS driver Austin Cindric will join the fans for a lap around the 1.058-mile oval during Track Walk Presented by PPG. Advance registration is required at SpeedwayCharities.org for $25 per person. Children 16 and under are free with a paid adult.
Wicked Good Live Auction | Sunday, July 17
Fans can bid on a variety of unique NASCAR memorabilia items from many of their favorite drivers during the Wicked Good Live Auction from 9-10:30 a.m. Sunday, July 17 on the Embrace Home Loans Entertainment Stage located just outside the infield tunnel. There will also be items from New England sports teams, local businesses and once-in-a-lifetime experiences. NCS driver Aric Almirola will also join the fun at 10:15 a.m. to auction off one of his firesuits.
Hot Laps | Sunday, July 17
Fans can experience the speed and excitement of “The Magic Mile” from the official Toyota Camry TRD pace car during the inaugural Hot Laps event from 9:30-10 a.m. Sunday, July 17. For just $200, a fan and two of their friends can strap in as a professional driver takes them for a two-lap ride around the 1.058-mile oval where they’ll feel the speed and g-forces that the race car drivers feel just hours before the Ambetter 301. Spots are extremely limited, and advanced registration is required at SpeedwayCharities.org.
Funds raised from these events will be added to those raised throughout the year and then distributed this December in the form of grants to local nonprofits that support children in need.