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Childress Has More Young Talent In The Pipeline

| Managing Editor, RacinToday.com Wednesday, September 22 2010

The racing family of Austin Dillon, Richard Childress and Ty Dillon. The family business appears to be in good hands. (Photo by Jerry Markland/Getty Images for NASCAR)

By Jim Pedley | Managing Editor
RacinToday.com

Kansas City, Kan. – Ty Dillon insists that his career path was not set for him in the maternity ward and sketeched out by his family on the back of his birth certificate.

He is not one of those drivers who was in a kart by his sixth birthday and piling up trophies by his eighth.

“I got a late start in racing,” Dillon says as he stands in the garages at Kansas Speedway on an unseasonably warm but typically windy day. “I didn’t start racing until I was 12.”

Twelve? Late? Yep, that probably would be considered late by some these days – especially considering Dillon’s heritage and circumstances.

Dillon is the 18-year-old son of Mike Dillon, who is a former Nationwide Series driver and the current director of competition at Richard Childress Racing.

Dillon’s grandfather is Richard Childress, a former racer himself but best known as one of the most influential team owners in NASCAR.

And Dillon’s “older” brother, Austin (20 years old), is a race-winner and the top rookie in the Camping World Truck Series.

Ty Dillon is now, after his late start, carrying on family tradition and though the professional portion of the career has barely gotten under way, it is shaping up to be a good one.

Dillon, at 17, began competing in the K&N Pro Series last year. He drove in three races and had two top-10 finishes.

This year, he has competed in seven of nine races. He won the Pro race at Greshahm Speedway in Jefferson, Ga., this year and has four other top-10s.

Dillon launched his ARCA career earlier this summer at Iowa Speedway. He won the pole and finished second.

On Tuesday, he was in Kansas testing his car ARCA start No. 2 _  next week’s race in Kansas City.

“Right now, it has all been kind of a whirlwind,” Dillon said of the past year and a half of his life. “I’m just trying to get used to these high horsepower cars. This is my first mile-and-a-half track.”

Doubtlessly there will be more intermediate tracks. And short tracks. And superspeedways. While Dillon’s career path was determined late, it was not determined in haste. He is using a model that has worked well for another in the extended Childress family.

“I’m going to kind of follow what Austin did,” Ty said.

Can Ty match what Austin is doing (The older brother has 13 top-10s in 19 truck races this year and a future which has Sprint Cup written all over it)?

Could be.

Working with Ty at Kansas was veteran NASCAR driver Scott Wimmer.

“I’ve been really impressed with Ty,” Wimmer, who has driven in 107 Sprint Cup races and has six victories in the Nationwide Series, said. “He’s got good equipment and he’s got good people (on the team) but he listens. He picks up stuff quick. Austin is like that.”

And like Austin, Ty is facing something that could potentially hold him back – the pressure of being Richard Childress’ grandson.

“Pressure?” Ty says. “Yes there’s pressure. There is always pressure. If I don’t perform, Richard Childress is not going to take it” no matter the familial relationship.

The pressure was not there to get involved in racing, however.

Dillon said, yes, he hung around tracks with his father as a kid. Liked it all. But was not hooked until he went the Charlotte Motor Speedway and watched a Legends race. He called granddad after that and asked if he could get a test of some kind.

“He said yes, he could could line something up for us,” Ty Dillon said.

Next week will represent the next step for Dillon. It will be a late stop, some might say, but the way things look, step with many more to follow.

– Jim Pedley can be reached at jpedley@racintoday.com

| Managing Editor, RacinToday.com Wednesday, September 22 2010
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