After an overshadowed rookie campaign (thanks to good seasons by Erik Jones and Daniel Suarez), Ty Dillon will kick off the 2018 season with some optimism for his sophomore year. And despite many rumors floating around that he would take the seat of a third Richard Childress Racing car, Ty signed a multi-year deal with Germain Racing and has GEICO as a primary sponsor along for the ride as well. Additionally, the younger Dillon brother snagged a new crew chief for 2018, as Matt Borland will be taking the role that Bootie Barker filled last year.
Cup Series History
The 2017 Cup season was Ty Dillon’s first full year in NASCAR’s top series. He posted an average finish of 20.7 with an average starting spot of 26.2. The good news for Ty Dillon fans is that he tends to stay out of trouble, and in 27 of the 36 races (75%), he had a positive place differential. Now, in quite a few of those events, the #13 Chevrolet didn’t qualify very well, so you have to attribute some of that to poor starting position, but it’s still noteworthy that Ty seemed to improve as the races went on.
Predictions for the Upcoming Season
With drivers coming off of their rookie season, you often have to worry about a “Sophomore Slump” in year #2. However, with all things considered, it’s hard to see that happening with Ty Dillon. An average finish of 20.7 in 2017 is right about where many people pegged him, and it wouldn’t be very surprising if Ty ended up with a similar average finish in this upcoming year. Looking deeper into his rookie season finishes, though, it’s noteworthy to mention that Dillon had good finishes at quite a few “talent” tracks: Darlington (13th), Dover, (14th), Bristol (15th), Atlanta (15th), and Pocono (17th and 18th).
Overall Expectations: The fact of the matter is that Ty Dillon hasn’t been super competitive in the Truck and Xfinity Series throughout his racing career, so seeing him suddenly becoming a threat in NASCAR’s highest tier. And I’m not talking about challenging for the win, I’m talking just challenging for top 10s. Starting up front can help a team enormously when it comes to finishing up front, but there’s no reason to think that Ty Dillon will suddenly start qualifying inside the top 20. This #13 team had eight top 15 finishes in 2017, and two of those were at Talladega. If they can notch eight top 15s on non-restrictor plate tracks in 2018, that’d be a nice improvement.
Can Ty Dillon win a Cup Series race in 2018? No, absolutely not. Ty Dillon has four wins over 248 career starts in NASCAR’s top three series, and zero of those have been in the Cup Series. Additionally, Ty hasn’t gone to victory lane in a NASCAR race since 2014, and had just three top 5 finishes in 27 Xfinity Series starts last year. How are you going to win a Cup Series race if you can’t even compete in the lower series?
Ty Dillon as a Fantasy Option in 2018
DraftKings: You can expect Ty Dillon to be priced similarly to how he was last season: right above the junk cars. However, if you remember many of the races in 2017, Ty Dillon was actually a great option–and in many winning lineups–throughout the year. The main reason for this was his poor qualifying effort and subsequent positive place differential in the race. This #13 team posted top 20 finishes in 19 of the 36 races last year, and if they can do that again in 2018, the younger Dillon brother should remain as one of the better “cheap” DraftKings options.
Season-Long Salary Cap Games: Because of his performance in 2017, you can expect Ty Dillon to be one of the lower-priced drivers in season-long salary cap games for 2018. And as is the case with Bubba Wallace, there probably won’t be too many leagues where Ty Dillon is a legitimately good pick in this type of Fantasy NASCAR format. Obviously it’s all going to depend on the pricing structure, but you want to fill the “lower” section of your team with drivers that can post as many top 15s as possible, and Ty Dillon doesn’t fit that mold.