CHARLOTTE, N.C. — Story by Race Chaser Online New York Dirt Correspondent Steven Ovens — Performance Motorsports Network audio — Rich Corbett photo —
Some young drivers are just born with something that sets themselves apart from the crowd.
It’s nothing science can explain, it’s not something you can buy off the shelf and you can’t build it if you tried.
Tyler Dippel has that intangible “stuff” that looks as though it will make him successful for as far as his desires take him in his racing career. To this point, those desires have taken him from Wallkill, N.Y. — racing dirt tracks and big block modifieds — all the way up to NASCAR’s K&N Pro Series East, where Dippel won last Saturday at Mobile International Speedway in just his second start. Proving that he indeed, has what it takes to be a success at the next level in his career.
Dippel spoke with Race Chaser Online recently about that success.
“I can’t even believe it. (To win) in our second start, that’s amazing,” said Dippel.
Dippel and team had to wait an extra day to even get the race in at Mobile, due to Mother Nature having her way with when the event would run to its completion. The teenager says it was well worth the wait, though, due to the race car his team brought to the track for him.
“It was one of those times where you get that perfect race car and you couldn’t make it any better. Everything just came together and the team is working really well together.”
Even still, the win wasn’t all peaches and cream for the 15-year-old driver.
Despite growing up being chased by Northeast Dirt Modified legends like Brett Hearn, Danny Johnson and others, Dippel still found himself vulnerable on several late-race restarts at Mobile.
“I’ve probably never been more nervous in a race car to tell you the truth,” he said of having to perform restart after restart late in the race. “I was just thinking (I had to make) clean shifts, keep (my) cool and don’t make any mistakes.”
With all of that said, Dippel reflected on the transition between racing on dirt with the Super DIRTcar Series to now competing at the K&N East level — with a potential trajectory toward NASCAR’s top three series.
“The driving aspect isn’t that much different, believe it or not,” he admitted. “On the pavement you’ve got to be really consistent and hit your same mark every single lap for 150 laps … and if you mess up you’re going to lose a significant amount of time. In the dirt car, you kind of search around and move around the track because the (areas of) grip moves around. The motor department was (actually) kind of a downgrade because the dirt modified has so much power under the hood.”
Dippel has won some big races in his dirt modified, but to win in NASCAR’s playground for development drivers and up-and-coming talent? That trophy immediately moved to the top of the young rising star’s list of career wins.
“This has definitely been the biggest win of my career and I’m so thankful for that. I really can’t believe everything has come together so quick.”
As Dippel and his HScott Motorsports with Justin Marks team look ahead to next weekend’s race at Greenville Pickens Speedway, they took some time to test at GPS this past Wednesday — learning more and continuing to gel as a team.
“We learned a lot during that test but we still have a lot of work to do. We have some car handling issues to figure out but that test was really valuable and I think we’ll come out on race day even stronger.”
Dippel has come out swinging in 2016 and certainly turned a lot of heads with a win in his second career K&N Easts event. He has aligned himself with some of the best in the business, and the fruits of those labors have already started paying off.
It’s also a pretty good story to trace back to the grassroots level of motorsports — to show any driver at that level with hard work and a won’t quit fire behind the wheel can fulfill their goals in the sport.
Dippel is giving fans in the Northeast a lot to cheer about and only time will tell, just how far the kid from Wallkill, NY can go in his budding NASCAR career.
Listen in to Race Chaser Online’s full conversation with Dippel from Thursday’s Stock Car Steel/SRI Motorsports Show on the Performance Motorsports Network:
About the Writer
Steven Ovens is the Northeast Dirt Correspondent for Race Chaser Online and the creator and host of the Turn 5 Live dirt track racing radio show, airing at 7:30 p.m. Eastern every Tuesday on the Performance Motorsports Network.
Ovens has spent his lifetime in the sport of dirt track racing, growing up in the garages of the Kerrick and Ovens families. He spent 11 years behind the wheel between go-karts and 4 Cylinder Mini Stocks which brings a unique perspective to his dirt track editorials.
The 29-year-old has a career in the growing health care business world, and is also serving as the full-time announcer and PR Director for both Outlaw Speedway (formerly Black Rock Speedway) in Dundee, N.Y. and Woodhull Raceway in Woodhull, N.Y.
Email Steve at: [email protected]
Follow on Twitter: @StevenOvens
Email Race Chaser Online: [email protected]
Follow RCO on Twitter: @RaceChaserNews