Toyota Racing – Ty Dillon
NASCAR Xfinity Series Quotes
TALLADEGA, Ala. (April 21, 2021) – Joe Gibbs Racing driver Ty Dillon was made available to media via videoconference prior to the Talladega race earlier today:
TY DILLON, No. 54 Mobil 1 Toyota Supra, Joe Gibbs Racing
What’s exciting about going to Talladega for a driver?
“I think the obvious that there’s always a great opportunity to win and there’s always a great opportunity to end up in a mess. It’s an exhilarating, exciting race for me. I have confidence going to the superspeedways, for whatever reason, I don’t know why – I’ve just naturally done well at the superspeedways. I think on the Cup side I had – or have had, I don’t know if it still works, since I’m not in the Cup race this weekend – one of the best average finishes over the past five years at the racetrack. So that’s always a good confidence boost, trivia style stat that’s cool to have. Talladega is a fun track that I always feel like I can win at no matter what I’m in.”
How have you been spending your time when you are not in the car on a weekend?
“It’s quite the balance and I don’t know if I have handled it perfect to be honest. It has been an emotional roller coaster. I usually during the week I work as hard as I can trying to get relationships going and get more opportunities to get more races throughout this year, as everything is still up in the air and after Talladega, I don’t really know what’s going to happen, so I think we are continuing down the road of hopefully running some more Cup races in the 96. Obviously, Harrison (Burton) is going to be in the car this weekend. I think he had sponsorship and some backing to do that, so I’m excited for Harrison to get his first start. Surely, I would like to be in that race and in that car, but Harrison is going to do a good job. For me, it’s a balance of working hard to try to figure it out. I’m still working out and investing in my body and my mind as much as I can, as if I was running a full Cup season to win championship, and that won’t stop because that is where I believe I belong and that’s where I will be. That is my job currently. It’s stressful, but also just stopping to take a deep breath. This is the one that I think takes the most work is just realizing that I’ve been given this time where I’m not at the racetrack, not traveling every weekend to just enjoy my family, enjoy things that I haven’t since I was born, pretty much. Racing is a constant every single weekend, so taking in this time and fully living in it because I do believe I will get back to the Cup Series at some point and that is my hope, but this can be a blessing too in a since to enjoy my time with my wife, and my daughter and my little boy. Doing that, I’ve kind of picked up different hobbies as you see around me and some of my posts, I’ve gotten into trading cards and doing some stuff with that. That’s been a lot of fun. The hardest thing has definitely been on Sundays watching the races. I just want to be in the car so bad that I don’t want to watch the races because I’m getting to watch other guys play with my toys pretty much, and that’s hard but I feel the urge to watch and learn and to grow. There is always something to see from a different perspective. I wish I could say that it’s been easy to kind of grind through this time, but it’s not been the simplest to understand but we will get back to racing more and that is kind of my goal this year is to put together as many races as possible, hopefully I will get more opportunity to run more races this year no matter what it is and then prepare as people start planning and going into next year that I will have an opportunity.”
Have you had the opportunity to coach drivers or any opportunities outside of the support?
“I just try to help give advice to people that I see that I see very similar to myself in the situation that I’m in. Being at Gibbs (Joe Gibbs Racing), Daniel Hemric has a lot of experience, but there is Harrison Burton and Brandon Jones, and Ty Gibbs is somebody that I communicate with. He’s got a bright future and him and I have similar situations in life with family being owners. He’s somebody that I feel like I can help with knowledge that I wish somebody would have helped me with when I was his age. He’s a superstar and he is doing so well. He’s got a great group of people surrounding him, but anything that I can do to help the teammates that I’m with right now. Our program is really strong. We are building it stronger. We’ve done some team building so to speak the first three or four weeks of the year, we were all riding go-karts as part of a team. That was something that I kind of came up with to try to make sure that we grow as a group, that we are challenging each other. You can see the whole group of Joe Gibbs Racing drivers are racing inside the top-five week-in and week-out and that’s fun to see. I think I provide value in that. I want to provide value behind the wheel, but I have a lot of experience from when I was born in this sport and knowledge. I’ve seen a lot of things go on and I’m still young enough to be able to relate to the young guys, so that is something that I enjoy doing. I enjoy helping the youth and the younger guys in a sense, but I haven’t really taken that as a job so to speak.’
Does your situation make going to Talladega difficult?
“This year has been so unique with every opportunity this year has felt that way. I don’t know if I have handled that the best or the worst in each situation. I’m certainly growing through something during this time. I have a lot to learn during this time being that I’m going through something for the first time. I think the first three or four races I wore a lot of that pressure on myself. I put high expectation on myself to go out and lead every lap in these cars and really show what I could do and I think we’ve run well, but I think the pressure I’ve put on myself has made me not as efficient in all the areas that I would like to be and also I’ve done that off of the track with expectations of getting rides and getting opportunities. I think what I’m beginning to learn and is giving me more peace along this journey is all I can do is work hard, put in the effort, prepare, have my body and mind prepared and like I’ve done in the past let the results be the results. I’m not really in control of the results. I’m in control of the effort whether I go out this weekend and win the race or get in a crash. As long as I do everything to the best of my ability, I’ve got to know in my heart that’s the best that I had this weekend, and I will move on to the next opportunity and I certainly hope it’s a win. I’m going to have a car capable of it. I believe I can do it. There’s never been a time that I’ve gotten in a race car that I didn’t think I could win the race, so I think for me having that perspective is easier and makes me a more free and better driver.”
Can you talk about why you have elected to be so honest with your struggles?
“It’s been hard for me, but there is always a reason why we go through things. I’ve been very blessed in my life to get good opportunities to even be at this level, but opportunity goes away, and you go through hard things in life, everyone does and if someone tells you they are not going through something hard in life, they are about to realize that. if somebody says their life is perfect and they don’t have any problems, that’s their problem. Life is beautiful. We get to learn. We get to help each other in those times and even though there is a lot of days where my heart hurts and I want to be on the racetrack, I know that this is the opportunity for me to grow and for me to use my situation to help others and I know when all this is over, racing and career is over and I’m an old man one day, I’ll look back and be more proud of the people that I helped, whether I get to find out the people that I helped or not, but if I can be a light of reality in my situation that would be an amazing thing. I think reality in the situation can help. We all can help each other with more reality. We live in such a world of putting out your best picture is what you’re supposed to be and that is what your life is supposed to be. I certainly have an amazing life and I post pictures of my amazing kids and wife, but I think it’s also nice to have a little bit of reality of I’m having a hard time, I want people to know that, but in my hard time, I believe that there is going to be good things. I think sharing life and sharing community and what you are going through is the only way to make it through, and not be so stressful and anxious. All of that seems to come through comparison of other people’s lives. You think that other people’s lives are better than yours and that’s not always the truth and we can always help people whatever situation we are in, whether if we are on the mountain or if we are in a little bit of a valley. There is always opportunity to help others around you.”
What’s it like for you to be the veteran at Joe Gibbs Racing?
“I enjoy that. I don’t consider myself an old guy yet. I’m 29. I’m sure I feel old to the sport because in the Truck Series I was 19 years old, so this is 10 years in the top-three series, so I do have a lot of experience if you think of all of the races that I’ve run over that time. I’m not someone that wants to horde information from the guys I’m racing against. I believe in my talent and I also believe I can help people along the way that my success isn’t determined off of someone else’s failure. I think if I help these guys and they get better, it’s only going to help me get better. I really enjoy teaching and helping and giving advice, because I learn so much from it. I think the display that we put on at Daytona was really good. I think you saw some high-level teamwork. Each one of the drivers was doing a really good job and hopefully, as I’m trying to get opportunities, I hope teams see that I can bring more value to the table than just dollars and unfortunately, that’s where the sport is and unfortunately, that’s what it takes a lot of, but there are more than just dollars that go into being a good race car driver. Hopefully, that value comes back around, and I have always kind of said, I will never feel bad about doing the right thing and helping people out and trying to make people better at what they do.”
Since you posted your podcast, I Quit Today, what feedback have you received?
“There has been a few that are in the sport that have reached out that were really kind and really appreciated what I said because they have been through those times or they are in those times, but not a whole lot. I think our sport struggles with a level of vulnerability at times, so some people don’t really know how to react to vulnerability, but outside of the sport, media wise I’ve had a lot of interaction with people who have really enjoy that and understood what I met. I think a lot of people have been confused by the title of I Quit Today. I certainly wasn’t saying I was quitting racing, just talking about the hard times of sometimes when you wake up and you want to quit everything and what that’s like and what I felt that week or that time and how I’ve gone through that. It’s been a couple weeks since I’ve posted that. In those weeks, I’ve just kind of just taken some time and my wife and our kids, we’ve been going out of town on the weekends and just doing some different things that we haven’t been able to do in the past. I look forward to being able to get another podcast out soon. I think that’s who I am and that’s who I want to be is somebody who shares the reality of my life and hopes that it can help others in relatability to where people don’t feel like they are the only ones that are going through anything in life, whether it’s being a father or looking for a job or having success or not having success. I just enjoy communicating community and just talking to people about life.”
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