NASCAR Cup Series driver Ty Dillon, seen here at Phoenix Raceway in Avondale, Arizona, will race at Evergreen Speedway this weekend. (Associated Press)

NASCAR Cup Series driver Ty Dillon, seen here at Phoenix Raceway in Avondale, Arizona, will race at Evergreen Speedway this weekend. (Associated Press)

NASCAR’s Ty Dillon to race at Evergreen Speedway this weekend

Dillon, whose wife, Haley, is a Snohomish County native, will bring star power to the speedway’s Summer Showdown.

MONROE — For nearly a decade Ty Dillon has traveled regularly to Snohomish County, where his wife Haley is from, and visited the Evergreen State Fairgrounds. On occasion he’s even headed to Evergreen Speedway, taking in a race from a spectator’s perspective rather than a driver’s.

This weekend Dillon finally gets his chance to experience the track from behind the wheel, and Summer Showdown finally has its first NASCAR Cup Series driver as a participant.

Summer Showdown, Evergreen Speedway’s premier event, takes place Friday and Saturday, and Dillon, who competes in stock car racing’s biggest series, is this year’s main attraction.

”To actually be able to race this weekend is so special,” Dillon said during Thursday’s Summer Showdown media day at the track.

Summer Showdown is back for its ninth edition after being canceled last year because of the coronavirus pandemic. The 200-lap main event for Super Late Models, which takes place on Evergreen’s 5/8-mile track, is set for Saturday evening, with qualifying taking place Friday afternoon.

And Dillon brings some star power to the proceedings. The 29-year-old from Mooresville, North Carolina, has eight seasons of NASCAR Cup Series experience, finishing 24th in the points standings in both 2017 and 2019. This year he’s split time on the Cup Series and the NASCAR Xfinity Series, most recently placing fifth at the Xfinity Series’ Credit Karma 250 on July 10 at Atlanta Motor Speedway. He is the first Cup Series driver to compete at Summer Showdown since the race’s inception in 2012.

“We’ve been talking about this for the last couple years.” Evergreen Speedway president Doug Hobbs said about getting a Cup Series driver to Summer Showdown. “One of the main reasons we changed to this week is the Cup and Xfinity are off this time of the year for two weeks, and we knew our only chance would be to have it during their break. Ty was the first entry in 2020, but it didn’t happen. So to have Ty from the Cup series and Jesse (Little) from the Xfinity is pretty cool.”

Dillon was a natural fit for being that first Cup Series driver at Summer Showdown. His wife Haley is a graduate of Monroe High School, the couple spends ample time in the area, and they recently bought a house in Snohomish.

“We have so many family and friends that live around this area that don’t really get to go or travel to the bigger races, like the Cup races,” Dillon said. “So to come into the hometown, where we just have so many people that we love, and to be able to come out and be at the racetrack is super exciting. So this event is more than just winning a race or being a part of a race, it’s getting family together and doing something fun, so it’s pretty cool.”

Dillon, because of his status as a Cup Series driver, will be one of the favorites to win Saturday. However, he has factors working against him as well. He’s unfamiliar with the track — prior to Friday’s practice session his total experience on Evergreen’s big track was running about 10 laps Monday using Trenton Moriarity’s car. This is also Dillon’s first time racing a Super Late Model on asphalt — he’s raced Super Late Models on dirt — as the Cup Series uses the faster and heavier Generation 6 car.

And Dillon has plenty of competition. Not only does he have to contend with his own inexperience, he’ll also have to overcome a strong field that includes the likes of Little, four-time SRL Southwest Tour champion Derek Thorn, and 2016 Summer Showdown winner Tayler Riddle. And they’ll all be chasing Preston Peltier, who’s had a stranglehold on Summer Showdown as the three-time defending champion.

“I’ve never entered a race where I didn’t think I could win,” Dillon said. “I’ve never raced a Super Late Model, I’ve never been on this racetrack, I’ve never sat in this car before. But I still feel like I can give them a good run for their money. There are a lot of odds against me, but I’m here to win for sure. I’m here to have fun first, and then the next goal is to win.”

Pit stops

This year’s Summer Showdown has a new format. Friday night will see the Pro Late Models compete in a 125-lap race on Evergreen’s 5/8-mile track, with the winner taking home $15,000 and the top three finishers having the option to compete in Saturday’s Super Late Models race, where the winner takes home $25,000. If the same driver wins both races there’s a $40,000 bonus, so it’s possible for someone to come away with $80,000. … Between the Super Late Models and Pro Late Models there are 55 cars entered, with drivers hailing from nine states. Because of the closure of the U.S.-Canada border due to the coronavirus pandemic, there are no Canadian drivers taking part this year.

Talk to us

More in Sports

Tennessee Titans kicker Randy Bullock (14) celebrates with tight end Geoff Swaim (87) as Seattle Seahawks defensive back Ryan Neal (26) reacts after Bullock kicked a field goal in overtime to give the Titans a 33-30 win in an NFL football game, Sunday, Sept. 19, 2021, in Seattle. (AP Photo/Elaine Thompson)
Seahawks blow 4th-quarter lead, fall to Titans in OT

Tennessee running back Derrick Henry ran for two 4th-quarter TDs to erase Seattle’s 14-point lead.

Tennessee Titans running back Derrick Henry (22) scores a touchdown against the Seattle Seahawks during the second half of an NFL football game, Sunday, Sept. 19, 2021, in Seattle. The extra point was good and the score tied the game at 30-30. (AP Photo/John Froschauer)
Grading the Seahawks’ 33-30 overtime loss to the Titans

Seattle started strong but ultimately suffered its worst lost in recent memory after a 2nd-half collapse.

Marysville-Pilchuck’s Darren Johnson-Jones, left, tries to block a pass to Miguel Chavez, right, during football practice on Thursday, Aug. 19, 2021 in Marysville, Wash. (Olivia Vanni / The Herald)
Vote for The Herald’s Prep Football Game of the Week

Pick one of the high school football games we’ll cover this week.… Continue reading

AquaSox’s manager, Louis Boyd, Funko Field at Everett Memorial Stadium in Everett on July 28, 2019. (Kevin Clark / The Herald)
AquaSox season ends with rain out

Everett’s finished the season 61-56 and one spot out of the High-A West championship series.

Washington Huskies running back Sean McGrew runs the ball into the end zone for a touchdown during the game against Arkansas State on Saturday, Sept. 18, 2021 in Seattle, Wa. (Olivia Vanni / The Herald)
Huskies’ offense finally breaks out in win over Arkansas St.

Dylan Morris throws for 367 yards and three TDs as UW earns its much-needed first victory of the season.

Washington State quarterback Victor Gabalis throws a pass during the second half of an NCAA college football game against Southern California, Saturday, Sept. 18, 2021, in Pullman, Wash. Southern California won 45-14. (AP Photo/Young Kwak)
Archbishop Murphy alum sees significant time at QB in WSU loss

Victor Gabalis fills in for the injured Jayden de Laura and completes 6-of-10 passes in a 45-14 defeat.

The Herald's prep football roundup. (Photo by Elaine Thompson)
Prep football roundup for Friday, Sept. 17

Prep football roundup for Friday, Sept. 17: (Note for coaches/scorekeepers: To report… Continue reading

Seattle Seahawks quarterback Russell Wilson (3) celebrates with wide receiver DK Metcalf (14) after a touchdown against the Indianapolis Colts during an NFL football game in Indianapolis, Sunday, Sept. 12, 2021. (Jeff Haynes/AP Images for Panini)
Seahawks aim to continue success in home openers under Carroll

Seattle faces Tennessee on Sunday having won 12 straight home openers and 17 of 18 overall.

AquaSox's manager, Louis Boyd, Funko Field at Everett Memorial Stadium in Everett on July 28, 2019. (Kevin Clark / The Herald)
Saturday’s AquaSox-Indians game washed out

The game will not be made up and Sunday will stand as Everett’s last game of the season.

Most Read