Ty Dillon to make 200th Cup career start at Homestead

Competing in his fifth full-time season in the NASCAR Cup Series, Ty Dillon is bound to achieve a milestone start. By taking the green flag in this weekend’s Playoff event at Homestead-Miami Speedway, the driver of the No. 42 Petty GMS Motorsports Chevrolet Camaro ZL1 will reach career start No. 200 in NASCAR’s premier series.

A native of Welcome, North Carolina, and the grandson of NASCAR championship-winning team owner Richard Childress, Dillon made his inaugural presence in the Cup Series at Atlanta Motor Speedway in August 2014. By then, he had campaigned in two Camping World Truck Series seasons for Richard Childress Racing, where he accumulated three victories and a runner-up result in the championship standings in 2013 during the two seasons, and was competing in his first full-time season in the Xfinity Series for RCR, where he claimed his first career victory at Indianapolis Motor Speedway in July. Driving the No. 33 Chevrolet SS for RCR, Dillon started 29th and finished 25th in his series debut. He returned to the Cup circuit at Phoenix Raceway in November, where he finished 27th on the track.

In 2015, Dillon, who continued to run in the Xfinity Series on a full-time basis while part time in the Cup Series, qualified for his first Daytona 500 start in February after piloting the No. 33 RCR Chevrolet SS to a 16th-place result in the first Daytona Duel qualifying race and earning the final transfer spot to the main event. Starting 31st, Dillon finished 28th in his first 500 attempt after being involved in a late incident. He then competed in four additional Cup races in the No. 33 Chevrolet throughout the 2015 season, where he achieved his season-best result of 14th place at Michigan International Speedway in June.

The following season, Dillon remained as a full-time Xfinity competitor for RCR and as a part-time Cup Series competitor for two organizations. His first Cup start of the season was the 58th running of the Daytona 500, where he finished 25th while driving the No. 95 Chevrolet SS for Leavine Family Racing. The following race at Atlanta Motor Speedway, Dillon served as an interim competitor for three-time NASCAR Cup Series champion Tony Stewart, who was recovering from injuries from a dune buggy accident in January. Driving the No. 14 Chevrolet for Stewart-Haas Racing in three races, Dillon recorded finishes of 17th, 15th and 25th at Atlanta, Phoenix and at Bristol, respectively. He also relieved for Stewart for the remainder of the Cup race at Talladega Superspeedway in May, where he finished sixth despite the points being awarded to Stewart since Stewart started the race. Along with his interim role at SHR, he made six additional starts in Leavine Family Racing’s No. 95 Chevrolet. His best results were a 20th-place run at Texas Motor Speedway in April and a 21st-place run at Pocono Raceway in June.

After three full-time seasons in the Xfinity Series, Dillon was promoted to the Cup Series in 2017 to drive the No. 13 Chevrolet SS for Germain Racing on a full-time basis. In Dillon’s first Cup season, he recorded eight top-15 results, 40 laps led and an average-finishing result of 20.7 throughout the 36-race schedule as he concluded the season in 24th place in the final standings and in third place in the Rookie-of-the-Year standings behind Erik Jones and Daniel Suarez. His best results throughout the season were a pair of 11th-place results at Talladega in October and at Phoenix in November.

Remaining at Germain Racing for a second full-time Cup season in 2018, Dillon achieved his first top-10 career result in NASCAR’s premier series after finishing sixth at Daytona in July. Throughout his sophomore campaign, he recorded four additional top-15 results and an average-finishing result of 24.1. When the final checkered flag of the 2018 season flew, he concluded the season in 27th place in the final standings.

Dillon commenced the 2019 Cup season by finishing in sixth place during the 61st running of the Daytona 500 in February. After finishing no higher than 15th over the next six races, he finished 15th at Bristol in April after winning the first stage in a photo finish over Clint Bowyer. Two races later, Dillon made his 100th Cup career start at Talladega in April, where he won the first stage before being shuffled back to 17th place in the final running order. He would then achieve his first top-five career finish (fourth place) at Daytona in July during a rain-shortened event. For the remainder of the season, he achieved an additional top 10 and four additional top-15 results before he concluded the season in 24th place in the final standings. Throughout his junior Cup season, he earned an average result of 20.6 and led a total of 14 laps.

Throughout the 2020 season, which marked his fourth season at Germain Racing, Dillon recorded an average-finishing result of 22.0 as he also achieved two results in the top 10 throughout the 36-race schedule. His lone highlight of the season was achieving a career-best third-place finish at Talladega in October following a two-lap shootout to the finish. In spite of the result, he settled back in 26th place in the final standings.

Two months prior to the conclusion of the 2020 season, Germain Racing announced plans to cease all operations in NASCAR at season’s end due to longtime sponsor GEICO not renewing with the team for the future, which left Dillon without a full-time ride for the 2021 season. A month prior to the 2021 season, he managed to secure a part-time ride with Gaunt Brothers Racing, where he attempted to qualify for the 63rd running of the Daytona 500. Prior to the 500, he competed in the newly-formed No. 23 23XI Racing Toyota Camry for the Busch Clash at the Daytona International Speedway Road Course in February, where he started 14th and finished 18th. Despite finishing sixth during the first of two Bluegreen Vacations Duel event at Daytona, Dillon did not qualify for the 500 and waited a week until he made his first Cup start with Gaunt Brothers Racing at the Daytona Road Course, where he finished 19th. His other Cup starts of the season with Gaunt Brothers Racing occurred at the Bristol Motor Speedway Dirt Course in April, Circuit of the Americas in May and at Road America in July, where he finished 26th, 21st and 26th, respectively.

After spending the 2021 season as a part-time competitor with starts across all three NASCAR national touring series, Dillon returned to the Cup Series as a full-time competitor, where he joined forces with the newly-merged Petty GMS Motorsports to pilot the No. 42 Chevrolet Camaro ZL1. He commenced the season with an 11th-place result during the 64th running of the Daytona 500 followed by four additional top-20 results through the first six scheduled events before he collected his first top-10 result of the season at the Bristol Dirt Course in April, where he finished 10th. Despite earning an additional eight top-20 results and an average-finishing result of 21.7 throughout the 26-race regular-season stretch, Dillon did not qualify for the 2022 Cup Playoffs. Coming off five top-25 results during the previous seven Playoff events, including a 16th-place result at Texas Motor Speedway in September, he is currently ranked in 29th place in the driver’s standings.

Through 199 previous Cup starts, Dillon has achieved two top-five results, seven top-10 results, 76 laps led and an average-finishing result of 22.1. While he is set to depart Petty GMS Motorsports at the conclusion of the 2022 season, he is set to join Spire Motorsports as a full-time driver of the No. 77 Chevrolet Camaro ZL1 for the 2023 Cup Series season.

Dillon is scheduled to make his 200th Cup Series career start at Homestead-Miami Speedway on Sunday, October 23, with the event’s coverage to start at 2:30 p.m. ET on NBC.

The views and opinions expressed in this article are those of the author and do not necessarily reflect the official policy or position of SpeedwayMedia.com


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