Race Weekend Central

Dropping the Hammer: What’s Eating Ty Dillon?

Near the end of a roughly 15-minute monologue posted Monday on social media, Ty Dillon reminded his audience of an important fact.

“I’m not a philosopher, I’m not a perfect speaker.”

He’s just a NASCAR driver with a platform.

The 29-year-old driver decided to use it to let us all know that for a brief, emotional moment Monday while sitting on his kitchen floor, he threw in the towel.

“I can’t do this anymore, the stress is hurting my heart,” Dillon told his wife, Haley.


In case you’re just tuning in, Ty Dillon is going through a lot professionally in a relatively short amount of time.

Late last year, he lost his Cup Series ride of four years after Germain Racing closed due to a lack of sponsorship.

Dillon has since joined Toyota Racing, splitting time with 23XI Racing and Gaunt Bros. Racing in the Cup Series and Joe Gibbs Racing in the Xfinity Series. Through five weeks of racing, he has next to nothing to write home about, having failed to make the Daytona 500 and finished 14th or worse in his three Xfinity starts.

At Homestead, his day ended on lap 102 after a bolt went through his radiator. On Saturday, he finished 31st at Las Vegas after being involved in two incidents, one the result of a radio that wasn’t working.

“To start these first three opportunities in some of the best equipment I’ve ever gotten an opportunity to drive” and not have anything to show, “it definitely (wears) on you,” Dillon said.

Sunday didn’t help.

“Being at home and having to watch another Cup race on TV is not easy when you feel like you mentally and physically should be in the race there,” Dillon said.

He acknowledged “this may sound like whining and complaining, but this is just my life and I want to transfer it straight to those who care and are interested. … It’s all within good perspective of I’m very blessed to get to drive racecars. This has been my career. But this has also been my whole life and just like anybody else when you’ve worked really hard for something … You want to see it through, you want to see it to what your end goal was.”

But in the last few months, Dillon’s “opportunities have dwindled and become few and far between, which makes you really aggressive and hungry when you do get the opportunity to go try to prove a point.”

And for a brief moment on Monday, it was too much.

“Like a typical man, I was grumpy and mad and wanting to blame things on everybody else,” Dillon recounted. “As a man, it’s sometimes tough to release your emotions when you’re hurt and you’re upset. I just broke down today in the kitchen of our house … I want to be a top series NASCAR driver, and I want to be a top-notch dad and husband and be able to do it all well and have it all go good. And right now the racing side is really hard and uncertain. And I think that uncertainty just drives anyone crazy, when you don’t know what’s coming around the corner.”

Dillon’s moment on his kitchen floor was just a moment. And the Toyota Racing driver wants everyone to know it’s OK to have them.

“I hope this can help people out. It’s definitely helping me to talk about it,” Dillon said. “This is what’s going on in my life. And I hope that at least somebody out there finds it encouraging.”

When someone has an emotional crisis, their first instinct usually isn’t to get in front of a microphone and record a podcast about it.

But Dillon did that.

Before this season started, I never expected to write more than one column on a driver who hasn’t won a NASCAR race since 2014. But drivers, like all people, are more than what they do for a living.

When I talked to him three weeks ago, one of the highlights of our conversation was what Dillon said about being empathetic.

“I’ve wanted to be a better person,” Dillon said. “I wanted to understand things better. And if you don’t learn, you can’t empathize. You got to empathize to be able to learn what other people are going through and to understand situations from not only your perspective in life.”

Due to the lack of success in his time at Germain Racing, the spotlight never consistently shone on him for me to give much thought to “what’s eating Ty Dillon?”

That changed last year with his Instagram conversation about race issues with Bubba Wallace. It’s continuing now, with him talking into a microphone and working out his fears, his hopes and even his passing thoughts on masculinity, at the low-point of his career.

Dillon won’t be back on a race track for 20 days. He’ll compete for Gaunt Bros. Racing in the Cup Series’ Bristol Dirt Race on March 28. After that, he’s not scheduled to race until the April 24 Xfinity event at Talladega.

“In NASCAR, 21 days feels like 21 years when you get your next opportunity to go try and prove what you can do,” Dillon said.

Dillon’s chances at a competitive NASCAR career could very well end in one month.

Dillon just now seems to be becoming comfortable with his voice. It’s one NASCAR isn’t used to having and is in danger of potentially losing.

So while he’s got your attention, hear him out.

and check out his show “Dropping the Hammer with Daniel McFadin” on YouTube and in podcast form.

About the author

Daniel McFadin is a 10-year veteran of the NASCAR media corp. He wrote for NBC Sports from 2015 to October 2020. He currently works full time for the Arkansas Democrat-Gazette and is lead reporter and an editor for Frontstretch. He is also host of the NASCAR podcast "Dropping the Hammer with Daniel McFadin" presented by Democrat-Gazette.

You can email him at danielmcfadin@gmail.com.

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Bill B

Sounds like he’s trying to pitch a reality television show.
The bottom line is that he is having to come to the realization that he just might not be good enough. This happens daily in all sports. Not everyone that tries makes it no matter how hard they work. Up to now he and his brother have been propped up by family ties, not surprising that the house of cards is crumbling now that he has to compete on the open market.
I know I am being harsh but that’s the way I see it.


The Dillons were legends in their own minds in high school. Makes one wonder about the newest Gibbs.

Joshua Farmer

Nice article. You guys at Frontstretch always find unique angles.

Mmpcollectibles MacDaddy93

Ty has always been a Stand up/fan friendly Driver/Man!
Unlike his favored brother!

Sonya D Zorio

That’s right. Everybody needs to cut him some slack!!!

Mmpcollectibles MacDaddy93Dale E. McPherson Jr

Nicely said partner!


Young Gibbs will be just fine.


How many years down the road?


There was a time when drivers struggled for years being so so at best before hitting stride in their 40s ask dale jarret. Ever since jeff gordon hit the scene in 92 93 seaons the win now with pretty young guys has hurt alot of young guns that may not be there yet and in a time where its all or nothing out the gate. Just saying


Thats tremendous pressure on kids that for the most part just got their regular liscense to drive on highway much less 190+ at daytona. Most of you making low brow comments probably never been over 70 on interstate. So break it back and let these kids grow learn and mature or go out and show your moxy on the track


He’ll be expected to win in his first race in Cup. Another Sliced Bread again at Gibbs.


Bill, you hit it square on the head. Ty really needs to think about how far he’s come — which isn’t far at all. He wants to be the next Busch.or Logano, but he’s not even close. His biggest lesson to learn is that he’s just not that great of a driver. I think if he changes his focus from “I’m going to win every race” to “I’m going out there, do my best, and maybe even have some fun” I think he will lose a lot of the stress and maybe even have a good time. One of the hardest things to do is to tell someone who thinks they’re really great at something that guess what, they are that great. I wish the best for him.


Austin Dillon at least has won at the cup level and has lower series championships on his resume.

Ty Dillon is the Kerry Earnhardt of the family.


He should try to be Kelly Earnhardt. She is acknowledged as the most talented driver in the family.

Jill P

Why so many articles on this guy? He does nothing but wreck his and others’ cars in the Xfinity races. I guess that’s the only way he figures he has a chance to win. If he didn’t have a grandfather as a car owner with connections, he would have been gone a long time ago.

John M Stecz

Cannot believe how cruel people can be,with there replays. This is a really competitive sport,regardless of who you are.Lighten up on the man,for God sakes


True. But you can argue the only reason he had a ride in cup was because of his grandfather.


And the Andretti family, Jarrett boys, it’s natural but some fathers push and some don’t. I’ve always admired Matt Martin for telling his father he was over it and Mark for not pushing him.


So what if you grew up in a racing family. Dont hate cause your grandad was a milkman jim.


To say there was no connection between Germain and Childress is just not the truth.

John M Stecz

Cannot believe how cruel people can be with their replys. This is a really competitive sport, regardless of who you are. Lighten up on the man, for God sakes

Deborah Childress

We know you going through some bumps in the road.my husband’s brother forgot his family. My husband said don’t let this get you down and keep your faith. Even though we never met you we are praying for you. We know a lot going on in the family we are going through some horrible times ourselfs.we are your biggest fans don’t give up things will get better love you . Close kin people we have never forgot you.my husband knows a lot bout the family. We hope you let your family meet your kin folks. Love you and praying for you and your family. My husband knows what you are going through a lot of things happen ed to him when he was in racing he was blackballed from racing because of his brother. After working for him when he was not rich but when he got very rich he forgot his brother and other guys that helped him. So don’t let anyone get you down. We love you kin to you

Dan Craft

Ask any driver how hard nascar is on your mind and body. You want nothing but to succeed and things happen out of your control. Ty you are still young and I’m sure your chances aren’t over. Study what you do best and worse and if it feels you are at a low point then you can only go up from here. Good luck.


Name another driver that won consistently since the 3 cars. Harvick did not start winning until he left if that owner was that good why did he leave makes u wonder


Zip it idiot. Harvic won plenty and early on. Sometimes teams lose chemistry and people part. Childress had grandsons so what. I love harvic til this day but he has a son now and one day he will pass the torch and understand how that all works.

Tom Moore

I am hurt, but I am not slain
I’ll lay me down and bleed awhile
And then I’ll rise and fight again

jeffery smith

Forget who his grandfather is, Here is a guy who just wants to be the best he can be. I find no fought on this matter at all, To me he has a right to throw a fit , cause if we keep our emotions inside,the end result would be determemtal too one’s self Best of wishes Mr. Dillon.

David Agin

I feel Ty is far better than half of driver’s who have rides! Give him a chance, someone, pleaseeeeeeeeeeeee!
I’ll never understand why Grandfather doesn’t have him in one of his car’s, NEVER

Jerry S

The family name and connections can help you get your foot in the door, but once you step in you either make it or fail based on your ability, if there was true talent here he would still be in an RCR car at some level. Most of the names mentioned in another post may have had connections, but all proved they could win at one of the three top levels, Gibbs is to early to judge one way or the other.

Ryan benbow

I don’t care about Austin Dillon
Ty needs to go to a winning
Team like hendrick rcr is no good

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