Thus far 2018 has been a season Ty Dillon would like to forget. However, he believes his Germain Racing team is heading in the right direction.
Dillon, 26, is in his second full Monster Energy NASCAR Cup Series season, a year in which he has little to show. Through the opening 20 events, the North Carolina native has a best finish of sixth earlier this month at Daytona International Speedway (first career top-10 finish), but just three other finishes inside the top 20 (13th at Texas Motor Speedway, 15th at Talladega Superspeedway, 20th at Richmond Raceway).
But Dillon believes a 23rd-place finish at New Hampshire Motor Speedway last weekend may have been the kick the No. 13 team needed.
“I think last week was a big turnaround for our team,” Dillon said on Friday at Pocono Raceway. “We should have run inside the 15, if not the top 10. Our speed was the best it has been in a long time. I think we were more competitive than where we were the first half of the season. I think we can learned some stuff last weekend that we can get some good momentum going for the second half of the year.”
Dillon was coming off a rookie season in which he led 40 laps, and was in contention to win late in the spring June race at Dover International Speedway before a rash of cautions flew. At year’s end, he sat 24th in the championship standings, ahead of both Chris Buescher and AJ Allmendinger, who also have an alliance with Richard Childress Racing.
Meanwhile, the No. 13 team currently sits 29th in the championship standings, 49 markers off the 24th position, which is currently nailed down by Darrell Wallace Jr., who ironically has an RCR alliance. But the main focus has been battling the Chevrolet Camaro ZL1, with less resources than most the other Chevy teams.
“We’re going through quite a bit of changes, not only with our crew chief, but the change of the car,” Dillon mentioned. “I’ve never really gone through that at the Cup Series level. For our team, as a driver, I’ve got to be more patient. We don’t have the resources to go to the wind tunnel two or three times a week every week to try and develop the car.
“We just have to be efficient with everything we do. As a young driver, the biggest thing I’ve learned is being patient in that process of growing. You want to win every single week, and at every level that I’ve come up, I’ve won right away, and been in contention for the championship. It’s a little bit different here at the top. I believe that our team is growing in the right direction and I think our team is capable of a lot.
Dillon realizes that working with a small race team such as Germain Racing there are going to be growing pains, thus meaning the bright spots may come down the road. Where the No. 13 team shines may be different than even other teams with RCR alliances.
Dillon said, “There are some good things happening with our team. We’re digging deep right now to try and get ourselves back in the top 10 and top 15. I believe in every ounce of my heart that we can get our team to running inside the top 10 week in week out, whether it’s this year, next year or two years, we’re developing in the right way.
“I think realistically if we can get ourselves inside the top 25, top 23 in points, it would be a good finish to the year and take the things that we’re learning right now at this part of the season and roll them into next year and have some success.”
This weekend will mark Dillon’s sixth career start at Pocono. His best finish at the Tricky Triangle came in this race last season, when the No. 13 took the checkered flag in 17th position.
About the author
Dustin joined the Frontstretch team at the beginning of the 2016 season. 2020 marks his sixth full-time season covering the sport that he grew up loving. His dream was to one day be a NASCAR journalist, thus why he attended Ithaca College (Class of 2018) to earn a journalism degree. Since the ripe age of four, he knew he wanted to be a storyteller.
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