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NASCAR Media Conference

American Government Special Collections Reference Desk

Stock Car Racing Topics:  NASCAR

NASCAR Media Conference

Ty Dillon
April 3, 2012

THE MODERATOR:  Good afternoon, everyone.  Welcome to today's special two‑part NASCAR teleconference.  We're going to open with Ty Dillon, driver of the No. 3 Bass Pro Shop Chevrolet for Richard Childress Racing.  Dillon, a NorthCarolina native is currently fourth in the NASCAR Camping World Truck series standings, just four points out of the lead.
The Truck Series returns to action at Rockingham Speedway Sunday April 15.  Immediately following Ty, we'll be joined by NASCAR Sprint Cup Series driver, Ryan Newman, who won Sunday's Goody's Fast 500 at Martinsville Speedway.
Ty, you're off to an impressive start to the 2012 season, did you expect to be this strong this early?
TY DILLON:  I knew we had great trucks and great equipment.  I didn't expect a second place so quick out of the gate at Martinsville, but I knew we were going to be Top 5.  It's really got me excited going into the rest of the year.
Just my guys have been doing awesome.  We had a little bit of a rough practice at Martinsville, and we really showed that we can persevere and that we've got a team that won't give up and will be fast no matter what.  I'm looking forward to the rest of the year, and I'm really excited.

Q.  With the series going to Rockingham, I'm curious before you ever became a race car driver, did you ever go to Rockingham to watch races?  Do you remember anything about the track or is it all new to you?
TY DILLON:  I was able to go a lot when I was younger, me and my grandfather.  I was probably six or seven years old.  From then on, I would always ride up there with him in his Corvette, and we'd go up there and spend the whole weekend up there.
It was kind of a cool deal for me, because it was the time that I would go to the racetrack with just my grandfather, and me and him would hang out all weekend.  It's a really cool track for me.  I've been there a lot.  Most of the races that we ran there, I was at them.  It's really cool to be able to go back for the second time and be able to race again.

Q.  Obviously, you won there in the ARCA car.  So what do you feel like that is an advantage for you at all going into next week?
TY DILLON:  Yeah, definitely.  I feel like it's a huge advantage.  I'm the last race winner there as far as a NASCAR style race car.  So I feel like I've got a really big advantage.  My guys have a good set‑up, I believe, going forward there.  It's going to be tough to dial a truck compared to an ARCA car there, but I feel like I've got a good understanding of the racetrack.
It will be somewhat of an equal playing ground for the only time this year, I believe, that everybody's going there for the first time in a long time.  We've been there earlier than anybody else has, so I feel like we might have a little bit of an advantage.

Q.  Just to kind of expand on that a little bit, with your background and your family and everything, could you just talk about how cool it is to kind of be able to race in a place like Rockingham with so much history?  I'm sure you felt that way when you were there in the ARCA car, but this is a little bit different with NASCAR making the return there.
TY DILLON:  Yeah, it is.  It's going to be really special.  I know when I won the ARCA race there last year, they still give out the old style Rockingham trophy.  The old wooden style trophy.  So that was really cool.
Just the history that goes into that place, the racetrack is worn out, it's going to be great racing.  These trucks have great races anyway.  So you can go out two or three wide on that racetrack, so I can't wait.  All the history that goes into a place like this, it's almost like if you can get a win, it's like winning at Martinsville or Daytona or the tracks that have been around for a very long time.

Q.  Ty, I wanted to ask you.  With your experience in ARCA, what did that series do for you in running in that.  Obviously that's a serious where you're running against different guys, some young guys like yourself, but also guys like a Frank Kimmel who has been in that series for so long and had so much success.  What did ARCA mean for you and how did it help new your career?
TY DILLON:  Yeah, it really helped with the style of car that you're running.  It's the old style Cup car but it's got the same power, so you've got to learn to be conservative with the throttle.  I learned how to save tires over a longer race at a 250‑lap race.
Running against people like Frank, those guys know how to win a championship, no matter what series it's in.  They kind of taught me a little bit of how to be consistent and make your best finishes and not push the issue to try to win a race, but finish second or finish third just so you can get the good points.
I learned so much from that series going to the big racetracks, the tracks that I'll be running in the future.  It will always be one of the biggest learning curves and experiences in my career.

Q.  For some of the veterans that were there like Frank and some of those guys, did you get to spend much time with them and talk to them or learn from them and teach them something?  Also I know about a year ago is when you beat Frank on the last lap at Talladega, to beat somebody like that in a situation like that, what does that mean?
TY DILLON:  Yeah, I got asked what my favorite win was last year, and that's definitely it.  To be able to race Talladega, a track I've watched so many times and seeing finishes that are happening on the last lap, the last straightaway.  So to be able to do it in my own fashion against a nine‑time ARCA champion, Frank Kimmel, will be something I'll never forget.
I felt like I didn't get to talk to those guys as much as I needed to last year because we were racing for a championship right out of the gate.  I don't think they wanted to give up too much information because they knew we'd be strong.  But they were always there.  They were helpful when they could give up a little bit of information.

Q.  Because of your family situation and the fact that Austin did so well on these trucks last year, it's impossible for you to fly under the radar.  Everybody's sort of looking at what you can do as the next guy.  Is that difficult for you?  Do you sort of enjoy that part of it?
TY DILLON:  I kind of enjoy it.  I like a little extra pressure.  But I've said plenty of times that I believe in my guys.  I've got the equipment that won the championship last year, the truck that's won the championship last year.  I've got most of my guys that have won the championship.
I believe in the equipment, my guys and myself, that we can go out and prove to these people that can he with go out and win this championship in our first year.  Even though it is our rookie year, we've got all the resources in the world that we can use, and we'll go try to make it happen.

Q.  What about the mix on your team.  Are there guys left from Austin.  Are there guys left from Austin?
TY DILLON:  Every single person from Austin's team went up to Nationwide, except for one.  He's on my team now, and he's the rear tire changer, Kenny.

Q.  Can you share a little bit more about the Corvette ride with Richard, I presume?  And I imagine you were six or seven, that had to be a pretty cool thing to get to experience at that age?
TY DILLON:  Yeah, it was.  Mainly just getting time to spend with my grandfather going to a racetrack and seeing what things went on.  I was young, so I can't remember much into details each and every trip.  But I just remember the time that we had fun together being at the racetrack.  Sometimes just kind of escaping for him, but being at the racetrack.
It was just good times and good memories that I can remember with my grandfather being at a racetrack.  We didn't get to do that as much anywhere else.  But Rockingham, being so close to home, we could ride up there together and have a little fun on the road, talking about racing and talking about whatever, and me just being a young kid trying to soak it all in.

Q.  You said you were so young, you can't remember a whole lot.  Does one trip stand out or anything stand out as your favorite memory particularly?
TY DILLON:  Not really.  We didn't do too many crazy things with me being so young.  I just remember it was a good time with me and my grandfather that was just us hanging out and being at the racetrack.

Q.  Ty, I was just wondering talk about your hobbies.  What do you do so sort of have fun, relax and kind of get away from it all?
TY DILLON:  It's been a while since I've been able to do my hobbies.  I get so attached to the race shop and the racing that I feel like I never leave.  Once I leave the race shop, I just go home and go to sleep.  I'm actually at the race shop now with the pit crew doing pit stop practice and working out.
Other than that, we've always hunted.  My grandfather got us into hunting at a young age.  That's what we like to do.  Me and my brother bought some hunting land, so we go over there and work on it and try to manage it a little bit and get some deer and turkey out there.
We're country boys.  We like to be outdoors.  We like trucks and jacked up trucks, and going outdoors and being ourselves and doing what we feel like doing.
We'll do anything.  We're up for anything.  We've been a part of a million hobbies, I feel like, and we still do our hobbies, I feel like, every day.

Q.  How often do you typically hunt, and what do you typically hunt, Ty?
TY DILLON:  I usually hunt probably ten times a year, 10 or 11 times a year, depending on the schedule.  It could be anything from a pheasant to a bear or going to Africa hunting or fishing in British Columbia.  We've done it all with my grandfather.  Mainly we've done a lot of whitetail deer hunting.

Q.  On the family there.  There are advantages of being the grandson of Richard Childress.  Are there any advantages or responsibilities that fans might not understand, you being the grandson of Richard Childress?
TY DILLON:  I don't think there are any disadvantages of being a grandson of a legend in the sport that you want to be a part of.  I'm really blessed to have the opportunities that I do, being able to race a car for my grandfather, which is great equipment.  He's got so much experience in this sport and what all goes on and how to handle yourself in certain situations.  There is never a disadvantage.
If anything, maybe people doubting you, thinking that you've got the opportunity because of who you are, which is somewhat true.  But also my grandfather's a pretty strong, tough person, and he's not going to just let us waltz through a career and let us have what we want.  We've got to go out and win races and prove ourselves.  I believe me and my brother both have shown.

Q.  On that topic, you and your brother tend to be really well‑grounded in the sense not spoiled.  Obviously, some grandsons of somebody so popular and wealthy and all of that, they get into trouble all the time.  You guys seem to have really picked up the right kind of background.  Can you explain that a little bit?
TY DILLON:  I guess the best way I can explain it is for a good reason, I guess.  My grandfather and grandmother are two of the nicest and best people that you'll ever meet, along with my mom and dad.  So we've been, I guess, brought up the right way.
Hopefully one day when I have kids we'll be able to raise them and hopefully people say the same about them.  It's just having respect for what you have, and having respect for the people around you and being a part of what you love.

Q.  This is kind of an easy question for you.  You're getting towards victory lane.  You've had Top 10 finishes in your past four races.  So have you planned your victory celebration yet, kind of modeling after your brother and his slide?
TY DILLON:  Not really.  I'm just going to maybe let something go on the fly if I can with that.  So I'm not going to get ahead of myself and start counting my chickens before they hatch.
If and when we get to victory lane, I might do something.  It just depends.  That worked out pretty good for him.  It's a pretty cool thing.  The fans like to see something different in victory lane.  Not only in victory lane, but on the track.
We'll see.  You never know what might happen.  I have to keep thinking about some things and get original.

Q.  Well, I take it you know how to party?
TY DILLON:  Oh, yeah, we'll definitely be having some fun.

Q.  A lot of race fans don't really know all the things that I driver has to remember.  Just like not going just to the track, but it's tire wear, use of fuel, the other things.  Can you explain how many things you keep in your mind before and during the race?
TY DILLON:  Yeah, it's more of a mental sport than what people actually get into it.  It's training off the track, eating right, being hydrated, having a good sleep schedule, making sure you're on time to all your appearances, making sure you're available for the right things.
Then being able to shut all that off and get in the race car and start a new thinking process.  What's my car doing entering the corner?  What's it doing in the middle of the corner?  What's it doing leaving the corner?  How do the brakes feel?  Are your tire pressures right?  Are the fans on?  Every little thing, what is your water temperature, oil pressure, everything?  There is a lot that goes into it.  As you race and get more involved in it, it becomes more second nature.
But there is a lot of stuff that goes on.  That was one thing we talked about in our meeting this morning was just getting in a rhythm under caution.  You have so many things and so many adjustments you can make inside the car with all your fans and all the switches that you have, that you've really got to pay attention to what's going on.  Keeping heat in your brakes and cleaning off your tires before you go back, getting a good restart.  There is a lot that goes into it where people kind of overshadow and don't think about it that ends up in the long run making you a better driver.

Q.  Thank you, and this does explain to people that, yes, this is a mental sport.
TY DILLON:  Thank you.

Q.  Just wondering how competitive are you with Austin behind closed doors?  You guys are always so nice and respectful of each other in the public eye, but is there any brotherly competition that goes on behind closed doors?
TY DILLON:  Oh, yeah, definitely.  Even last night we were playing a video game.  So 1:00 a.m., he wouldn't let me leave him alone, and he wouldn't let me go out.  I ended up losing a couple of games, and he wouldn't let me lose.  So I had to beat him before I could go to sleep.
It could be anything.  We still have foot races back to the car.  We do a lot of stuff together.  We care about each other a lot, too.  So as competitive as we are, we always want to outdo the other one, but we always want to see the other one succeed and do things right.  I think that's what makes us better as people, and better race car drivers.

Q.  How much do you think that having him as your older brother has helped fuel your competitive nature and helped you handle the stuff you have to handle as a race car driver?
TY DILLON:  It's been everything.  He's the person that's been there when I think I can't do something.  He says I've seen you do something like this before.  You can do it.  Go out there and do it.  He's the one that's motivated me.  He motivates me all the time.  We spend more time than anybody together.  We know what each other are capable of doing.
So we've pushed each other to the limits and want to see each other do better.  If he wasn't there to push me, and I wasn't there to push him, I don't know if we'd be the same.

Q.  What was that video game he was making you play last night till 1 a.m.?
TY DILLON:  It was NBA 2K12, I believe.  It's a pretty cool game.  The graphics are pretty awesome.  We're not even basketball fans, we've gotten kind of sucked into that game.

Q.  How much has the pressure changed moving to the NASCAR Camping World Truck Series after winning the championship in ARCA?
TY DILLON:  The pressure hasn't changed a whole lot.  You're just stepping into a tougher series where your mess‑ups are going to cost you more in the long run.  Everybody can run and contend for a race, anybody from first to 20th can really win a race in the Truck Series, which is a little different from where maybe in the ARCA series.
But the pressure is more in staying mentally focused and physically fit for a longer season, different racetracks, and being on top of the game.

Q.  I wanted to know when you're working with like Kevin Harvick this past weekend at Martinsville and having him as a teammate during the truck race, do you have to pick his brain much or maybe even some of the RCR truck guys that help you at some of these tracks that you might not have been to before?
TY DILLON:  Yeah, Harvick is a huge help at Martinsville.  He was everything.  He got in my truck and drove it at practice and was able to back up what I was saying, and it made us better as a team.  Everybody worked really well this weekend.
He's been there for a lot of things.  If I ever need a question, he's always there to answer it.  Also, he helped us have a better finish.  If he wouldn't have allowed me to start on the inside of all those restarts, I would have lost a lot of track position trying to get to the bottom from the outside.  He really looks after us and wants to see us do well as much as we want to see him do well.

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