[media-credit name=”Dan Sanger” align=”alignright” width=”294″][/media-credit]Austin and Ty Dillon only seem to know two things: racing and trying to beat each other in anything that can be made a competition. And they keep score too, just as any siblings would.
Saturday was no different, but the stakes were much higher. The Nationwide Series inaugural event at the Indianapolis Motor Speedway saw Austin, competing full-time, joined by Camping World Truck Series regular Ty. And after 250 miles, 100 laps around the famed facility the two found themselves again battling for bragging rights.
“We’ve always been really competitive in anything we’ve done,” said Austin after the race. “No matter what it is: sports, anything. Except school. We always been competitive, whatever it took to win or be the best. And I think that’s what pushes us each and every day.
“It’s nice having a brother that’s very competitive and very talented. I know he pushes me and I hope I push him.”
They pushed each other, and the competition, Saturday. While neither led a lap, both showed strength and contended for the top spot. Ty making the most of his second career start, running as high as third and keeping his No. 51 Wesco Chevrolet in one piece. Austin was looking for his second career win and a gain in the point standings.
It was also his first race back with crew chief Danny Stockman, who had been serving a two-race suspension following penalties handed down after Daytona. The No. 3 AdvoCare team put on a strong performance, qualifying seventh and running top 10 for much of the event.
“It was pretty interesting, as the race went on you saw a lot of important track position played and definitely in our situation we had to get some track position and it worked out for us,” he said.
“I had a good racecar early. Was racing up near the top five and smacked the wall after we made our last adjustment, getting into turn one and that just hurt us pretty bad. Lost quite a few positions when I did that.”
His driver error didn’t hurt a bit. Dillon made a decent recovery to move back into top 10 contention where his team could again make a strategy call. Taking just two tires and fuel on his final pit stop, enough to get him back into the top five.
He lined up fourth for the final restart; in position to make a run at a historic win. But pushing teammate Elliott Sadler to the lead became the only shot at the front he had. And unfortunately for Sadler, he beat leader Brad Keselowski to the line and was black-flagged.
“The last restart – it’s so important right now that you have to go on restarts,” said Austin of the incident. “Restarts are where all your passing’s done and especially at a big track like this momentum is huge. That’s everything, restarts.”
According to Austin, he was loaded and ready to go on the last restart and he thought he heard Keselowski take off. So he and Sadler went too. As he was pushing Sadler, Keselowski’s teammate Sam Hornish was pushing him. Beyond that, Austin says he would have to see a replay to offer any more information.
“I just went when the green was out,” he said.
As Sadler was penalized, Austin was losing positions. Hornish went by, as did Hamlin, then came little brother. He finished fifth as Ty continued his incredible run. He started and finished third. Afterwards Austin congratulated little brother for kicking his butt.
“Just so excited,” said Ty after the race as he thanked his sponsor letting him race and Nationwide for moving the race to Indy. “Just coming here if you would have given me a top 10 I would have been ecstatic. I kind of learned a little bit about myself this week, I did this last year with the Truck Series and went into those last three races in the Truck Series last year with an open attitude, just wanting to have fun and drive a racecar.
“I had no pressure with the points and same thing this year with no pressure of points and wanted to have fun here at a historic track like Indy.”
The biggest thing for Ty was feeling that he had become a better driver. Things like being more understanding, opening his mind more to adjusting whatever he’s driving. The weekend did wonders for his confidence and how he’ll approach the remaining season in the CWTS.
“I’m just so happy for my guys,” he said. “My truck team was pitting my car all weekend and Gil Martin, a legendary crew chief whose done a lot of great things in our sport, crew chiefed it and did an awesome job.”
Austin moves onto Iowa next weekend, just one point behind Sadler in the standings. Ty and the CWTS are in Pocono. And in keeping it all in the family, he like Austin sits second in points. He, however, is still looking for his first career win.