Ty Dillon, younger brother of Austin Dillon, will move to the NASCAR Nationwide Series full-time in 2014 with Richard Childress Racing, the No. 3 Chevrolet currently driven by his older brother. No mention was made of Austin Dillon’s 2014 plans in a team release.
He’s barely 21 – he only turned 21 this past February 27 – but he’ll have sponsorship support from Yuengling Brewery for eight races. It’s the first time Yuengling has partnered with a NASCAR team, and it’s interesting they’ve picked someone barely of legal drinking age as a driver.
“Ty Dillon is a perfect match for us to help introduce our Light Lager brand to loyal NASCAR fans wherever Yuengling is sold,” Lou Romano, Director of Marketing and Wholesaler Development for Yuengling, said in the release. “He’s not only a strong competitor on the track, but shares many of the same interests as Yuengling drinkers. Ty is an avid sports fan, outdoor enthusiast and holds close family ties.”
This isn’t as high-up on the NASCAR silly season totem pole as asking where Kurt Busch, Ryan Newman and Juan Pablo Montoya will land. But the indication that Ty Dillon will be in the 3 car is a very good sign that Austin will make the full-time leap to Cup in 2014, likely with RCR, and be eligible for Rookie-of-the-Year honors.
Although Austin Dillon has made 7 Cup starts this year, he retains rookie status as he has designated the Nationwide Series as the only series where he is eligible to score points.
MotorSportsTalk continues its annual review of the Verizon IndyCar Series drivers that raced in 2017. The 2017 season behind the wheel was better for Ed Carpenter than either of the last two years, but still wasn’t ideal results-wise in his six oval starts.
Ed Carpenter, No. 20 Ed Carpenter Racing Chevrolet
- 2016: 25th Place (5 Starts), Best Finish 18th, Best Start 5th, 0 Top-5, 0 Top-10, 1 Lap Led, 11.2 Avg. Start, 21.8 Avg. Finish
- 2017: 22nd Place (6 Starts), Best Finish 7th, Best Start 2nd, 0 Top-5, 1 Top-10, 5 Laps Led, 11.3 Avg. Start, 12.3 Avg. Finish
Ed Carpenter’s 2017 season was largely one of frustration, both behind the wheel and as a team owner.
While a respectable turnaround in results occurred – Carpenter finished between seventh and 12th in five of his six oval races after a nightmare season of ending 18th or worse in each of his 2016 starts – this is still not what he sets out to strive for in the races he does. Lost opportunities loomed larger than any official result he or the Ed Carpenter Racing team achieved.
Carpenter and new teammate JR Hildebrand, in for the departed Josef Newgarden, dominated preseason testing in Phoenix but Hildebrand could only muster third in the race, Carpenter a season-best seventh. Then at Indianapolis, Carpenter (second) and Hildebrand (sixth) flew the flag for Chevrolet in qualifying and practice pace, but they fell to 11th and 16th on race day owing to a front-wing change and late-race penalty for passing before a restart.
Both drivers got collected in incidents at Texas. Hildebrand qualified and finished a season-best second in Iowa but that result came only after the ECR crew rebuilt his car from a crash in practice. Then Carpenter had a practice crash in Pocono and despite a rapid rebuild, they missed the clock to qualify by mere minutes and were unable to do so. Carpenter’s spin on a slick Gateway track at the start of the race sent him over Will Power’s nose assembly in one of the scarier looking incidents of the year, although fortunately he was OK.
In a similar refrain as we often write, it’s not that Carpenter’s lost his ability to drive and he remains one of the series’ savviest and smartest people in the paddock. There have been a lot of extenuating circumstances of late, and it almost felt as though this team had “empty nest” components. Since September, Carpenter has had to secure his team’s future with a move away from its Speedway, Ind. shop, line up Spencer Pigot for a full-time drive replacing Hildebrand in the No. 21 car, find a new road/street course driver in the No. 20 car, and manage both driving and owning himself.