There is no Chase format in NASCAR’s Nationwide Series but no matter.
Ty Dillon is embarked on a chase of his own, which he hopes also will bring him a series championship.
Entering Saturday night’s U.S. Cellular 250 at Iowa Speedway, Dillon is right in the thick of the series title hunt after his win last weekend at Indianapolis Motor Speedway. The win was his first this season and first in the series.
“It gives us all the momentum in the world,” said Dillon, who has 13 top-10 finishes in 19 starts this season but only two top fives. “We got that win off our back, and we got it at Indianapolis.
“Now we can stop thinking about points again. Someone told me we were 15 (points) out (of the lead). We’ll stop thinking about that now that we got that win. We’re just going to chase wins all the way to the end of this thing.”
Dillon, 22, has had a solid rookie season in the Nationwide Series, but he entered the year with high expectations.
He finished second in the Truck series standings last season and took over as driver for the No. 3 team that won the Nationwide Series championship in 2013 with his older brother, Austin, as the driver.
Ty Dillon’s results before his win at Indy were consistent but not to the level he or his team expected. His ability to run and finish up front left him frustrated at times.
“I never lost confidence,” he said. “I’ve always gone to the race track knowing that I can win and knowing that I have the best team there is because they just came off a championship year.
“I have been upset with myself, and I know we all have. We just made mistakes. I’ve always had the confidence in my guys, and I’ve always had the confidence in myself that I can get it done.”
That became especially true after Dillon watched Richard Childress Racing teammates Paul Menard and Brendan Gaughan win races at Michigan and Road America, respectively.
“When you see Paul and Brendan get in Victory Lane – two awesome victories where the guys were pretty dominant in the race – I knew our program was there,” Dillon said. “All we had to do was work on ourselves.
“There was no more time to complain about cars, motors or anything. We had the power, so me and (crew chief) Danny Stockman have dug deep. We’ve changed a little bit of our program the past couple weeks and what we do leading up to the races.
“We’ve really buckled down and focused, and now we’ve showed what we’re capable of.”
Dillon enters Saturday night’s race fourth in the series standings, 15 points behind leader Chase Elliott. He finished eighth in the series’ first visit to Iowa in May and expects much more this weekend.
“It wasn’t bad, we were just finishing eighth, ninth and 10th every week, and that’s not what I hold myself to and I know that’s not what my team holds itself to,” he said. “I know what we’re capable of, and we showed it at Indy.”
Utter: 704-358-5113; Twitter: @jim_utter
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