The question was asked in jest, but Ty Dillon was serious with his answer.
The Germain Racing driver was asked to “get it out of his system” about how excited he is for a new NASCAR Cup Series season. Every year, “excited” is the drinking word in the media, so frequently is it thrown around by drivers and teams. But Dillon didn’t blink when he said he actually is excited.
“This season has a little bit different feel for me,” said Dillon. “The opportunity is massive for us. I think this is a big year for us in general.”
Oh, to be clear Dillon is excited because of the rules package NASCAR has rolled out for this season, and he’s ready to take advantage of it.
Dillon believes the new rules will suit his aggressive nature. He pointed to a test where he said he was able to do things with his car that couldn’t be done in the past. He was also able to get behind Brad Keselowski, Kyle Busch, brother Austin and Clint Bowyer, and pass all of them.
“I think this package allows me to show some of my aggressiveness,” Dillon said. “I think that mixing this opportunity with the way these restarts are looking like they’re going to be, fits my aggressive style. I’m super-pumped to get this season started. I think this season is going to be a great one for us.
“We were able to do things that we just didn’t have the muscle in our car in the past to do, that I could kind of show off a little bit. Sometimes, when you don’t have that speed … you’re kind of playing defense that whole time, and that’s not the way you want to be as a driver. You want to be aggressive. You want to be on the offensive side.”
Dillon and crew chief Matt Borland worked on their communication during the offseason, and the organization moved its shop from Mooresville to Welcome, North Carolina. Germain is now situated on the campus of alliance partner Richard Childress Racing.
Being closer is going to force both sides to communicate better. There is intermingling now, and access to things is quicker. Instead of dedicating a whole day traveling to the RCR campus, it’s now a short walk over to another building to get something done.
“When I’m at the shop, they’re all telling me this is going to work; this is better,” said Dillon.
So the excitement and expectation of a good year is there, but what results will come from it? The answer, according to Dillon, is wins – lofty goal for a team with just one top-five finish in its history (Casey Mears in the 2014 July Daytona race) and eight top-10 finishes. Dillon has finished in the top 10 just twice in his career, the most recent being last weekend in the Daytona 500.
“It’s not crazy,” Dillon said. “You look at my rookie season at Daytona in the July race and I was leading with (a few laps) to go. Then you look at Dover; … led (27) laps. Now if we would have led two laps and gotten blown away I would have said that was a fluke. But we showed in that opportunity that we can win a race, we were right there.
“I think we’re better than where we were my rookie year as a team, and in a better spot with this package and our race cars, and I just think these aggressive style of restarts and the way these races are going to play out and be a little bit different, we’re going to have a lot of opportunity for me to go up and flex my muscle and win races.”