This weekend, Ty Dillon is just a part-time visitor to Pocono Raceway.
Dillon, second in points in NASCAR’s Xfinity Series, is spending that series’ off-weekend making his third start of the Sprint Cup Series, with Circle Sport Racing in Sunday’s Axalta 400.
While Dillon, 23, is focused on winning the Xfinity series championship, he can’t help but think about joining his older brother, Austin, in the Cup series in 2016.
“We had talks, actually starting last year, that going into this year we were going to start searching for an opportunity for me to run full-time in the Sprint Cup series,” Dillon said Friday.“It’s a slow process. It’s not really our main focus. It’s kind of on the back burner at this point.
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“But, if we could get something nailed down early, it would only help our effort for next year.”
Sunday’s race is one of a handful Dillon is running this season to gain Cup experience. He ran the season-opening Daytona 500 and at Kansas. His best finish so far is 26th.
“My main focus as a driver is getting experience,” he said. “When I do get to run the Sprint Cup Series this year, if something were to happen for next year; and also, getting experience so I can go win the Xfinity championship this year.”
Ty said his preference would be to run full-time in both the Cup and Xfinity series next season, or a schedule similar to his brother, who is full-time in Cup and drives most of the Xfinity races.
He hopes to run a fourth team for Richard Childress Racing, owned by his grandfather, but is open to other scenarios.
“The plan is to be with RCR,” he said. “There might be options later down the road, but right now we’re 100 percent focused on getting sponsorship for full-time for RCR.”
Now about a third of the way through the season, Dillon said he is pleased with his performance in the Xfinity points race, but would really like a victory.
“Our team, we’re winners. And we want to be in Victory Lane,” he said. “So, we’re a little down right now, obviously, with only being second in points but not getting in Victory Lane has kind of been tough on our team.
“We’re really working hard to trying to get back to make sure we’re running in the top-five and battling for wins. We haven’t really been able to do that but for a couple of tracks this year. We want to be able to do it every single weekend.”
This weekend, the expectations may need to be tempered – this will be Dillon’s first race at Pocono since finishing 20th in the Truck race in 2013.
“I still have a lot to learn,” he said. “These guys are definitely on another level and I’m still learning these cars and every track is new to me. I’ve learned, every time I get out of the car, I feel like I could go back to that race track and really run a lot better.
“I’m always going to go with the mindset of going to win, but also to just try to learn and gain as much experience that will help in the future.”
Utter: 704-358-5113; Twitter: @jim_utter