Ty Dillon hoping reset at Spire leads to Cup success

Ty Dillon is used to being around winners. His grandfather is Richard Childress, the famous NASCAR Cup Series owner who’s produced 239 NASCAR victory across all four national divisions. However, after a year away as a part-time driver in 2021, he was back in 2022 as a full time participant in the premiere stock car series.

Unfortunately, the 30 year old still wasn’t happy. He hasn’t been professionally for a while now. His personal life he is. He’s a husband and a father. Most of all, he’s a Christian. But that in turn also creates some questions. Why me? Why this journey? What am I doing wrong?

Dillon broke through the NASCAR scene in 2011 in becoming the youngest ARCA champion ever at just 19 years old. He moved up to a full time Truck Series ride a year later. He finished 4th in points as a rookie. It only took 14 races to win as he did so that year in Atlanta.

He came back in 2013 and finished 2nd in points on the heels of 2 more wins. For 2014, he’d move up to the NASCAR Xfinity Series. He’d replace older brother Austin Dillon who moved up to the Cup Series.

Dillon was 5th in points. He won here at Indianapolis on the oval. Now he comes back here this weekend pulling double duty in racing in Saturday’s Xfinity Series race on the road course as well as Sunday’s Verizon 200 (2:30 p.m. ET, NBC, IMS Radio Network).

He’s not won since that fateful day in 2014.

He raced in 2015 and 2016 in Xfinity and was 3rd and 5th respectively in points. He’s just been waiting his turn to move up to his grandpa’s team. However, his brother was already there and with Paul Menard and Ryan Newman also being full-time, there wasn’t any room yet.

So for 2015 and 2016, he ran part-time while running full time in NXS. For 2017, he got his wish – he was a full time Cup driver. He did so with Germain Racing who had an alliance with RCR.

LOS ANGELES, CALIFORNIA – FEBRUARY 06: Ty Dillon, driver of the #42 Black Rifle Coffee Company Chevrolet, leads the field during the last chance qualifying race prior to the NASCAR Cup Series Busch Light Clash at the Los Angeles Memorial Coliseum on February 06, 2022 in Los Angeles, California. (Photo by Meg Oliphant/Getty Images)

Unfortunately, RCR as struggling which as a result, so did Germain. Dillon never won. He only had 2 top 5’s and 6 top 10’s. Germain eventually folded and sold off their assets. That left Dillon without a ride.

So last year he raced part time in both Cup and Xfinity and never really found his footing. Then came an opportunity to race for the newly merged Richard Petty Motorsports and GMS Racing. Still, the ride didn’t feel right. This wasn’t to what he felt God was leading him to do. So a few months ago, he decided that despite having nothing lined up for 2023, that it wasn’t best if he came back next season.

“I want to get back to winning races,” Dillon told me in late July at the Indianapolis Motor Speedway. “It’s been six years since I’ve been in victory lane, and that was here and the XFINITY series.”

He took a leap of faith. His Cup car that he’s driving now he feels like it has no real shot of winning on performance. The Xfinity car that he drove a few times this past year did.

“A couple weeks ago I go in the 48 and run up front, and just felt good,” he told me. “It was a lot of fun. I just want to be somewhere that we can get up front. I know I’m capable of it. I want to do whatever it takes to just get up front and win races.

“I want to be full time in a Cup as my first objective, but if not, I want to win races. I want to be upfront again. I have that confidence in myself that I know I can do it at this level. But sometimes it’s time to prove it to everyone else and get that confidence going again and show everybody what you can do with every time.”

That direction led him to Spire. A team that some would say is equal to what he’s driving right now. So what makes Spire different than Petty GMS?

They’ve shown flashes of speed this season and Dillon feels like both he and Corey LaJoie can each win races next season.

Being in this position however, wouldn’t have been so easy if not for his faith. He knows that his lord and savior has a plan for him. He just has to keep following in his ways and remain strong in his faith and it will guide him to where he’s supposed to be.

That now is Spire.

In the few months of not having a future secured for next season, it could have taken a toll on he and his family. He’s married and a father. He has mouths to feed and people to provide for. He’s doing that now but he willingly walked away without a seat or a job for next year.

That could have created some animosity within the walls of his own house. Instead, he said it was anything but and gives credit to his wife for being his rock and believing in him.

“You know when it’s meant to be it’ll come together,” he says. “It’s just weird. How things have come together and some things have fallen apart. So dynamically, so and I know God’s doing something in our life and my wife is such a strong part of that as being a consistent factor of keep me encouraged and I just know something good is coming.

“Like when you kind of release it and leave it open handed that God’s got a plan for your life and you see it through eyes of okay, it wasn’t meant to be but I was supposed to learn something here. It happened for a reason. But something better is coming. You see it as a bridge and not a cliff. I think that’s the best way to kind of move forward. And so it only makes it more true and more dynamic and more right when the right thing comes about so that’s why I’m so optimistic going into next year. I know that something’s coming God wouldn’t leave me here for no reason. And I’ve had plenty of prayers of if I’m not supposed to be here, take me out of this sport. And I’m still here so something’s coming.”

He says he questions everything when looking in the mirror and knows that it’s a battle but it’s one to keep fighting.

“Absolutely. That’s the battle for me every day is like how much do I fight for my own self? And how much do I keep it open handed and like God’s God work? I think you gotta, you gotta open the doors that are there. And if you hear a knock, you gotta walk through it and be confident to you know, ask questions, talk to people, but then also being open hand enough to release the result of of your work. So you put in the work and then leave the results up to God and that’s kind of the way I tried to stay focused. It’s not always easy. It’s not easy for anybody to fully be open handed, but it’s the best way to go about”

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