MONSTER ENERGY NASCAR CUP SERIES
MONSTER ENERGY ALL-STAR RACE
CHARLOTTE MOTOR SPEEDWAY
TEAM CHEVY DRIVER PRESS CONF. TRANSCRIPT
MAY 19, 2017
TY DILLON, NO. 13 GEICO MILITARY CHEVROLET SS, met with members of the media at Charlotte Motor Speedway and discussed coming to Charlotte Motor Speedway as a kid, running double duty, his team’s performance thus far, the Rookie of the Year points battle and many other topics. Full Transcript:
ANY FAVORITE MEMORIES WHEN YOU COME TO CHARLOTTE?
“I haven’t missed very many races here since 1992, since I was a baby pretty much. My Grandfather has a condo in Turn 1 and ever since I can remember I’ve watched every single race, whether it was Xfinity, Truck, Cup that has been on this race track. Even watched the IndyCar race back in the day. It’s definitely a special place for us. There are a lot of memories here. This is also where I made my first racing start in a bandolero and legend cars. Actually, our first test was on the little fifth-mile behind the track, like a lot of others I’m sure, Ryan Blaney, and Bubba Wallace. We all raced here every single weekend against each other growing up. This place is special to a lot of us drivers who are from North Carolina. It’s kind of a funny thing about NASCAR is everybody lives in North Carolina, but there are only a few actually in the Cup Series that are born and raised in North Carolina, so Charlotte is a very special place to us.”
WHEN YOU WERE RACING BANDOLEROS AND LEGENDS CARS DID YOU THINK YOU WOULD BE COMING BACK HERE AT A CUP SERIES ROOKIE?
“It was definitely a goal of mine when I started and I never let it be anything else. I remember sitting out there waiting on a legend car race to be over on the quarter mile here on the front stretch and they would park the bandoleros on the entry to Turn 1 and you would circle around and come on the track, I’m sure they still do it now. And looking down into Turn 1, like, ‘man one day I’m going to be going around there, one day.’ So, when I got that opportunity the first time in the Truck was really cool to kind of go back and cash in that memory. So, this place is very special to me and having those memories as a kid thinking about one day this is what I want to be doing makes is surreal now.”
YOU’VE DONE DOUBLE DUTY ALMOST EVERY WEEKEND THIS YEAR. WAS THAT A CONSCIOUS DECISION AT THE BEGINNING OF THE YEAR TO TRY TO BUILT UP SO MORE EXPERIENCE AND HOW MUCH HAS IT HELPED?
“It’s helped a ton. It was something I’ve wanted to do even before I had a contract to race in the Monster Energy Cup Series. I knew I wanted to be a guy like Kevin Harvick and Kyle Busch that ran both series and was able to win races in both. Still working on getting back into Victory Lane. We’ve been pretty competitive. We’ve been changing up a lot of things in our Xfinity program to try to get back on pace. We have been off the last couple of years as a whole, so hopefully we can get back to that. It’s definitely helped having the Cup experience and coming back to the Xfinity program to help build that program. It’s also helped get laps for the next day being a rookie at a lot of these race tracks. So, the first, I think the first race track that I haven’t ran double duty this year was Kansas last week and I was sitting around doing nothing and I was like, my body is not used to this I need to get back and be doing double duty. I look forward to next weekend where we get back in the Xfinity car and have a good shot at winning there.”
DO YOU THINK SO FAR THAT YOUR TEAM IS GOING IN THE RIGHT DIRECTION TO SURPRISE A LOT OF PEOPLE WITH YOUR PERFORMANCE AT GERMAIN RACING?
“I think so. First of all, I want to say Thank You, every time you tweet the rookie standings you are the one I look for. You are the one keeping me in the know of where we are at in the rookie points, so I appreciate that. It is kind of a difficult thing to follow.
“I think so, just look at our year. I mean, we have improved every time we’ve hit the race track. I know at the beginning of this year when I talked to a lot of you guys at Media Day, I told you that is our main goal is every time we hit the race track is to get a little bit better. We have definitely done that. We started off getting a bad finish in Daytona, but we ran pretty well and pretty strong all day. Ever since then we have gotten better, look at our race at Richmond when we cashed in segment points, ran inside the top 10 and probably a race track that nobody expected us to be inside the top 10 racing the guys that we were racing. Got caught up on pit road in a crash and then we came back the next week and we weren’t a very fast race car, but we did the things that we needed to do to get a top 15 and we’ve had solid finishes. We are sitting second in the rookie points and sitting in a good place to get the job done at the end of the year. We are there. I think people, like I said at the beginning of the year are going to underestimate us a little bit, but we are competing and beating a lot of these teams that have a lot more resources right at their fingertips.
“We have a great relationship with RCR and our technical alliance, but Bootie (Barker, crew chief) and all the guys at Germain Racing are working their tails off to put me in a position to go out and compete for this rookie of the year championship.”
SINCE YOU’VE ALWAYS BEEN UNDER YOUR FAMILY’S BANNER, WHAT’S IT BEEN LIKE ACCLIMATING TO AN INDEPENDENT?
“It’s been different, but my owner and Bob Germain and the whole race team has been like a family. I feel like I really haven’t left that family feeling of RCR in just not even halfway through the first season with these guys. I feel so comfortable. The guys are great. They’re all motivated and happy and we’re having a great time racing and that’s what it’s about for all of us. If you’re not having fun going to the race track you’re not going to run well. And we’re all having fun and we’re running pretty well right now. So, it’s been a great transition going to a different team, which is hard for me. The only thing I’ve known my whole life is RCR. I still get to do that on occasions on Saturday and be a part of it. And we also have our meetings every week with RCR every Monday. Our technical partners and everybody calls in. I’m still involved in everything going on at RCR but it is different. Sometimes it’s better to be a little bit separated and to be able to look outside in to the racing that I’ve known my whole life.”
HOW DO YOU EXPECT TO BALANCE BEING A NEW FATHER AND A ROOKIE IN THE CUP SERIES?
“Luckily our due date isn’t until November 29th. My wife is awesome. I’ll be taking care of her through that and preparing to be a new father. Oh, by the way, it’s a girl. I just spilled the beans, I guess. But we’re having a girl. We found out and we’re very excited. She’ll be the first little Dillon girl. We’re very excited for that. But as long as she comes right around when she’s supposed to, and not too early, we’ll get through Homestead and I’ll be home to be there with Haley. It’s nice that it’s right at the off-season starts. We’ll have a couple of months to get through those pains that everybody talks about with a newborn. I know it’s going to be hard, but I’m looking forward to going through that because it’s what life is really about. We’re out here racing cars and I’m very blessed to be able to do so. But for me, being able to raise a child is probably the ultimate thing that I look forward to in my life.”
YOU TALKED ABOUT HOW HELPFUL IT WAS TO BE ABLE TO RUN DOUBLE-DUTY. BUT SINCE IT’S YOUR FIRST SEASON IN CUP, HAS IT EVER BEEN AN ISSUE TRYING TO BALANCE BOTH OF THOSE ON THE SAME WEEKEND? WHAT’S BEEN THE MOST DIFFICULT PART OF THAT ADJUSTMENT FOR YOU?
“I think the most difficult part is my schedule. It’s been really, really tough because I’m so obligated to the Cup series, obviously. But to keep the Xfinity program going and have those opportunities, you’re still obligated to all your sponsors over there. And then as a rookie, and a young guy in the sport, you’ve got to put yourself in so many situations to keep your name in the media and keep your name booming as a young and up-and-coming driver. So, balancing all that on top of racing two races a weekend and being in the car seven or eight hours before you even get to the racing, is tough. But, it’s something that I’m learning and getting better at. It’s something you’ve got to adapt your body to and your way of life to, for sure. You’ve got to give yourself some time to recover. It’s definitely the hardest thing I’ve had to do yet, but also the most beneficial thing for my career so far.”
CAN YOU GIVE US A WORD THAT DESCRIBES KENTUCKY MOTOR SPEEDWAY? AND HOW DO YOU DO THERE?
“Heartbroken. I don’t know. I’ve led so many laps there and haven’t gotten to Victory Lane in the Xfinity Series and led so many laps down to five to go or to a green-white-checkered. I’ve been extremely fast there. RCR is always a team that brings fast race cars to Kentucky for whatever reason; we’re always good there. It’s always been a place where we’ve been successful. I’ve got a little bit of a love/hate relationship. Maybe this year will be our year. I look forward to going there with the Cup car for the second time in my career and having a good shot at really putting together a good finish. I think right now our focus is kind of going back to our expectations on this rookie year. We had expectations to just finish on the lead lap this first half of the year and get good finishes. But, now it’s time for us to change our expectations to running inside the top 15 and run inside the top 10 and get some segment points. If we start doing that, then we start setting our eyes on making the Playoffs.”
WHAT WOULD IT MEAN TO ADVANCE INTO THE ALL-STAR RACE TOMORROW NIGHT?
“It would mean everything because that means I’m an all-star in this sport. I think that’s something that’s overlooked a little bit. This is our all-star event and the drivers that are in it are all-stars of our sport. So, I think that’s something that we could do a better job of publicizing a little more. The event is awesome. It’s super fun. But, the fact it it’s an all-star event. Everybody watches the MLB all-star game. Everybody watches the NBA all-star game because of the all-stars. So, I think being a part of that race and knowing that this year, if I make it in, I’m an all-star of the Cup series in my rookie year. That would be pretty cool.”