NASCAR & Auto Racing

Xfinity Series racer at home on the track, in the woods or on the water

NASCAR Xfinity Series racer Ty Dillon has a passion for the outdoors, specifically hunting and fishing. He has reeled in a 400-pound tuna in Nova Scotia and caught trout in New Zealand.
NASCAR Xfinity Series racer Ty Dillon has a passion for the outdoors, specifically hunting and fishing. He has reeled in a 400-pound tuna in Nova Scotia and caught trout in New Zealand. SUBMITTED PHOTO

Ty Dillon figures his sponsor in the NASCAR Xfinity Series is fitting.

The hood of his No. 3 Chevrolet is emblazoned with a Bass Pro Shops decal and a big largemouth leaping out of the water.

The way Dillon sees it, that’s a fast-moving advertisement for his lifestyle.

“Oh, yeah, that combines my two passions,” said Dillon, who will be racing on Saturday in the Kansas Lottery 300 at Kansas Speedway. “Racing and the outdoors — fishing and hunting — are both in my blood.

“Having Bass Pro Shops as my sponsor is a perfect fit. Johnny Morris (founder and CEO of Bass Pro Shops) has taken me on some of the most memorable hunting and fishing trips of my life,” Dillon said. “We race 32 weekends a year, but I always find time to be in the woods or on the water.”

Dillon, 23, who is competing on the team of his grandfather, Richard Childress, is in fourth place in the Xfinity Series points standings. He is considered one of the top young drivers in NASCAR.

He even raced in NASCAR’s big show — the Sprint Cup Series — four times this season, including at Daytona and the Kansas Speedway race in May.

But he will race only in the Xfinity Series this weekend, trying to add to his family’s legacy in the sport.

His grandfather, Childress, is one of the legends of NASCAR racing. He’s a team owner who has found success on the track for 45 years.

Dillon’s father, Mike, raced in the NASCAR Busch Series, and his brother, Austin, also competes on the Sprint Cup side.

Dillon will tell you that his family members share one other thing in common. They have a passion for the outdoors.

Dillon still remembers the first time his grandfather took him deer hunting.

“I was 8 years old and I really didn’t know what I was doing. I thought it was just great being out there with my grandpa,” he said. “But I ended up shooting a 12-point buck that day.

“After that, I couldn’t get enough of it.”

Dillon also learned to fish with his grandfather. Childress had a big pond in front of his house, and the two spent many hours together, casting for bass.

Since then Dillon has hunted big game in Africa, reeled in a 400-pound tuna in Nova Scotia, caught trout in New Zealand, and shot a mountain lion in Montana. That’s not to mention the big deer he has taken on his family’s land in North Carolina.

“It’s not so much about what we shoot or catch that day,” Dillon said. “It’s about being out with family and friends, getting away from everything.

“I love racing, but our schedules can get pretty hectic. Being outdoors, where there’s solitude and you’re out in nature, that’s a great way to balance my life.”

The two lifestyles — racing and the outdoors — even mix when Dillon is at the race track. Many of the NASCAR stops, including Daytona and Homestead-Miami Speedway, have ponds or lakes.

When Dillon isn’t in the car or in meetings, he occasionally can be seen casting for bass at those places.

“I’ve caught fish there, but never anything real big,” he said. “We’re usually at each stop for three days, so it gives me time to do a little fishing.”

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