Ty Dillon doesn’t have a full-time gig for the 2021 NASCAR Cup Series season, but he did get a deal to run the season-opening Daytona 500 on Feb. 14, courtesy of Gaunt Brothers Racing. Dillon has signed to drive the #96 Toyota in the event nicknamed the “Great American Race.”
“Gaunt Brothers Racing has given me a great opportunity to compete in the Daytona 500, and I couldn’t be happier,” Dillon said. “I love superspeedway races, and the Daytona 500 is the biggest of them all. Toyota has certainly proven itself in our sport and in the Daytona 500. I’m looking forward to racing with them and reuniting with Bass Pro Shops and Black Rifle Coffee Company.”
After limited schedules with teams including Richard Childress Racing, Stewart-Haas Racing and Leavine Family Racing, Dillon went full-time Cup Series racing with Germain Racing in 2017. He remained the driver of the #13 Germain Chevrolet through the 2020 season but lost that ride when the team shut down at the end of last year.
Gaunt Brothers Racing contested the full 2020 Cup Series season with Daniel Suarez as driver, but Suarez has moved to the new Trackhouse Racing team for 2021 and Gaunt Brothers plans to run only a partial schedule this year. According to team President Marty Gaunt, Dillon is on the list of drivers being considered for other races this season. The team plans to focus on superspeedway and road-course races.
Dillon has contested 162 Cup Series races in his career, to date, resulting in two top-fives and six top-10 finishes, including three top-10s at Daytona. His career-best finish, so far, is a third-place finish in 2020 at NASCAR’s other superspeedway, Talladega Superspeedway.
“The best way to get a good start to your season is to have a good finish in the Daytona 500,” Gaunt said. “We’ve got a talented driver in Ty Dillon with a strong TRD engine plugged into the best equipment available. Together with Toyota, Bass Pro Shops and Black Rifle Coffee Company, we’re ready to compete and surprise some people.”