Ty Dillon won at Texas Motor Speedway a year ago, but that was in a truck, and he has forgotten all about it.
That’s what he likes to do with his races.
“I’m kind of the guy that wipes my slate clean every time I come to a racetrack,” he said Thursday at TMS, where he will run in the Nationwide Series race, the O’Reilly Auto Parts 300, on Friday night.
“Whether it was a good finish and I won or a bad finish, I don’t want to have any lingering thoughts of, ‘I came here and won last year, I know exactly what to do.’ ”
Dillon finished second in the Camping World Truck series points standings last year, fueled by victories at Kentucky in June and TMS in November. He also was second at TMS in June.
This year, he’s running a full-time schedule in the Nationwide Series, and he’s third in points, six behind co-leaders Regan Smith and Trevor Bayne.
“It’s a new series, a new car for me,” Dillon said. “It’s cool to have confidence, to come to a place you’ve won at and have had great success. I just want to continue to do that in the Nationwide series. But I know there’s a lot to learn. I hope we can pick up where we left off last year.”
Despite the start, with no finish worse than 11th in the five races so far, Dillon is critical.
“I know what my team’s capable of, and I know what I feel like I’m capable of,” he said. “Been somewhat disappointed with some of the finishes. I was disappointed with eighth last week. I just want to get up there and win. ... Even though it is my rookie season, I want to get up there and battle these guys right away. Because I want to win a championship in my rookie year.”
For the first time, Trevor Bayne says he is thinking about a season in terms of a series title, not just what’s best for that week.
“I never really understood that there could be a different mindset for a championship versus going out and racing every weekend,” he said. “I always thought every weekend, you went out and got everything you had and if something happened, it happened.”
Bayne shares the series points lead with Regan Smith, and he says he has worked this year to get at least what he is supposed to get out of his race car.
“When I don’t need to push it to the edge, I’m not. And I’m not causing those mistakes,” he said.
Bayne said consistency in performance and attitude can prove valuable.
“If you look at champions over any sport, they kind of have the same personality a little bit,” he said. “They work really hard, but they’re really calm and have confidence, but don’t seem arrogant. That’s something I wanted to work on, understand what a championship mindset looked like.
“And the fact that I’m growing up a little bit — being 23, I’m not 18 and feeling like I’ve got to come to the Nationwide Series and prove myself. I feel like at this point, if we can be consistent every week, the points will speak to that.”
NASCAR will announce Friday that it plans to use a “multi-zone” tire for the Duck Commander 500.
The Goodyear tire will have zones designed to wear out at different intervals, giving the teams more of a choice on how they want to manage wear.
The tire has not been tested at TMS, but it was used in Atlanta and Kansas last year and will also be used at Richmond, a NASCAR spokesman said.
Numerous tire failures affected the race on the 2-mile track at California two weeks ago, raising questions about what would happen on a similar high-speed, nonrestrictor track like TMS.
What to watch
Wisconsin native Matt Kenseth knows what he’d watch on TMS’ big screen if he had a chance.
“The Badger game on Saturday night,” he said. “Cheeseheads are playing down there.”
Wisconsin is in the Final Four semifinals at AT&T Stadium in Arlington. But that’s Saturday night.
“I don’t know what I’d turn on right now,” he said. “I don’t know, because I’m getting ready to practice. I guess I’d turn practice on.”