NASCAR’s Next Generation: Q&A with Tyler Dippel

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Have you ever spent a day throwing up what felt like 10 times and then gone to work?

Tyler Dippel has.

That was the case Sept. 17 when Dippel, a rookie in the K&N Pro Series East, found himself in the infield care center at New Jersey Motorsports Park, a road course in Millville, New Jersey. The 16-year-old driver from Walkill, New York, had spent the day emptying his stomach thanks to a bad case of the flu.

“It was rough,” Dippel told NBC Sports. “I just had to fight through it because we were still third in points.”

Dippel was given three bags of IV fluids and nausea medicine before he climbed into his No. 38 Chevrolet for HScott Motorsports for the 55-lap race, which he would finish seventh.

“They had a substitute ready in case I got sick inside the car or something, but I wasn’t going to get out of the car unless I was blacking out or throwing up in my helmet,” Dippel said. “I was just going to muscle through the pain.”

And there’s been a fair amount of physical pain in Dippel’s career. Last year, while preparing to unload a car at a dirt track, a winch failed and the door to his trailer fell on Dippel. His pelvis broke in five places.

“It was not like any pain (I’ve had) before,” Dippel said. “I don’t really remember too much about it because the pain was so great, I really wasn’t with it all.”

Dippel, the son of a former professional Motocross racer, spent three nights in the hospital before being bedridden for three weeks. There was no surgery needed and he was only out of a cockpit for eight weeks.

“I got really lucky,” Dippel said. “The bones were all broken, but they were still all in alignment with each other. So I didn’t have to wear a cast. So my body didn’t really get a stiffness from being in a cast.”

Those weren’t his first broken bones. At 12, Dippel broke a tibia and a fibula after flipping a four-wheeler. And years before that, a dirt bike accident resulted in a collarbone injury that led to his parents encouraging him to take up auto racing.

But to keep from receiving further injuries, maybe Dippel should be in a cockpit at all times.

“Yeah, in a five-point harness,” Dippel says with a laugh.

Dippel, who has scored the most points this season among all Rookie of the Year candidates in the K&N East, won in his second start at Mobile International Speedway. In May, Dippel was made part of the 2016-17 NASCAR Next class.

The following Q&A has been edited and condensed.

NBC SPORTS: As a 16-year-old driver, what do you look for in a team aside from it being successful consistently?

Dippel: Probably a real good crew, just having a good relationship with the crew to mesh together. If everyone’s having fun and working well together, I think that’s partially what makes the team successful, too.

NBC SPORTS: At what point this year did you feel your team was jelling at 100 percent?

Dippel: We started jelling from the first race. I think we had an (eighth) place the first race and we ended up winning the second race of the season. We jelled pretty quick I thought. We had a little bit of bad luck in the middle season, blew a motor, blew a (transmission), had a bunch of flat tires, just a couple of things that didn’t go our way, but we’ve always been engaged.

NBC Sports: What’s your earliest memory of racing?

Dippel: Probably when I got my first race car when I was 8 years old for Christmas. It was a slingshot, a little bit bigger than a go-kart, kind of like a scaled down Northeast Dirt Modified. They have the same motor that a Bandelero has and it’s just a dirt car pretty much.

NBC Sports: What’s the  best race you’ve been in or ever watched?

Dippel: Probably a Super Dirt Car Series race at the Dirt Track at Charlotte. That race was just so fun, there’s a big cushion right against the wall and you had to be inches from the wall, just sideways. There were guys on the bottom and there were lead changes, slide jobs going left and right. I was leading for most of the race and unfortunately jumped the cushion on the last lap and gave it up. We still had a really good run there.

NBC Sports: What do you consider your theme song?

Dippel: Empire State of Mind by Jay Z

NBC Sports: What’s the fastest you’ve ever been in a street car?

Dippel: I don’t have my license yet, probably like 100 (mph). I haven’t really gone that fast in a street car.

NBC Sports: When do you get your license?

Dippel: I’m scheduled to take my road test next month. I turned 16 in April and you have to wait six months to get your license in New York. That kind of stinks.

NBC Sports: How did you do on the written test?

Dippel: I got one question wrong. I think there was 20 questions.

NBC Sports: What do you want your first car to be, if you don’t already have it?

Dippel: It will probably be a truck of some sort to pick up and haul trailers and race car parts. That would probably be the most practical.

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Watch NASCAR Cup Awards Show at 8 p.m. ET on NBCSN

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Get settled into your favorite easy chair, make sure you have plenty of snacks and beverages on hand and get ready for the last big event of 2019 on the NASCAR schedule: tonight’s NASCAR Awards Show.

The show will be broadcast on NBCSN from 8-10:30 p.m. ET from Nashville, Tennessee, for the first time. And if you miss some of the show, don’t worry, there’ll be a replay immediately afterward, also on NBCSN.

Kyle Busch will be the main attraction for tonight’s show, being celebrated for winning his second NASCAR Cup championship this past season.

Also, the 2019 NASCAR Cup Most Popular Driver award winner will be revealed. Will it be defending winner Chase Elliott, reigning champion Kyle Busch, Ryan Blaney, Martin Truex Jr., Matt DiBenedetto … or someone else? You definitely need to tune in to find out.

And to get you in the mood, we’ll replay Wednesday’s Burnouts on Broadway at 7 p.m. ET, also on NBCSN.

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Will Daniel Suarez race for Richard Childress Racing in 2020?

Photo by Jared C. Tilton/Getty Images
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NASHVILLE, Tenn. — The president of Richard Childress Racing said it is a “longshot” that Daniel Suarez will drive a third Cup entry for the organization in 2020 but said RCR would like to have Suarez drive its No. 2 Xfinity car next year.

Suarez has not decided where he’ll race in 2020 after losing his ride with Stewart-Haas Racing this year.

Suarez has been linked with RCR. A third Cup entry would require RCR to acquire another charter for that car. It also could mean that the organization would need to hire additional people if they expanded to three full-time cars.

“I think that would be a long shot in a Cup program,” Torrey Galida told NBC Sports about Suarez in a third RCR Cup entry. “We’ve talked to him about an Xfinity program. We’d love to have him in an Xfinity car, and we think we could win another championship next year with Daniel. He’s a very talented young man.”

Richard Childress Racing’s No. 21 Xfinity car will run the full season with multiple drivers in 2020. Myatt Snider and Anthony Alfredo have been announced to drive that car. Galida said the team is looking at Kaz Grala, Austin Dillon and possibly two-time series champ Tyler Reddick driving that car in select races.

RCR ran the No. 21 car in nine of 33 Xfinity races this past season. It ran the No. 2 car in every race.

If Suarez, the 2016 Xfinity champion, drove for RCR in the Xfinity Series next year, it would be with the organization’s No. 2 car.

“We could still do that and we would do that,” Galida said of a full-time Xfinity effort for Suarez. “That’s the kind of opportunity we would be interested in.”

Galida said it just is a matter of hearing what Suarez decides.

“I think he knows what we’ve got to offer, and I think he’s just weighing his alternatives and trying to determine what is best for him,” Galida told NBC Sports. “I’m sure that going back to the Xfinity Series is not his first choice. I think in the right equipment it could be a really good move for him.”

Galida said they could go into January before hearing from Suarez but noted that “the sooner the better. People are your biggest issue. You want to put the right people around him.”

Next April’s Xfinity race at Bristol to have new sponsor

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Bristol Motor Speedway announced Thursday that partner Alsco, along with Darden Restaurants and its Cheddar’s Scratch Kitchen brand, will sponsor next April’s Xfinity Series race there.

The Cheddar’s 300 presented by Alsco will take place on Saturday, April 4, 2020.

Alsco is a global leader in uniform and linen rental services. In addition to its entitlement at Bristol Motor Speedway, Alsco will take part in Xfinity Series entitlements at three other Speedway Motorsports Inc. racetracks: Kentucky Speedway, Charlotte Motor Speedway and Las Vegas Motor Speedway.

Alsco’s initial entitlement at BMS came this past April with the Alsco 300 Xfinity Series race, won by Christopher Bell, who earned a $100,000 bonus through Xfinity’s Dash 4 Cash program.

Alsco is also a sponsor for Richard Childress Racing, Richard Petty Motorsports and JR Motorsports.

“Bristol is the place for historic finishes and close, hard-knock racing action,” said Jerry Caldwell, executive vice president and general manager at Bristol Motor Speedway. “Alsco and our new friends at Cheddar’s Scratch Kitchen understand the reputation of racing at The Last Great Colosseum and we’re ready to show them an incredible experience. The Cheddar’s 300 presented by Alsco is a must-see event on the NASCAR Xfinity Series schedule.”

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Cup champion’s celebration painful to those who didn’t win title

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NASHVILLE, Tenn. — A year after being feted for his first NASCAR Cup title, Joey Logano returned to Champion’s Week with a different feeling.

“These banquets aren’t really the same after you’ve won it and you know what it’s like to see your car plastered everywhere and your team and everyone is having fun together,” Logano said. “Don’t get me wrong, I’m glad we’re in Nashville, there’s a lot of really cool things, but it really stinks for the competitor to come to the banquet because it’s just like another reminder that you got beat. That’s not much fun. I don’t really like that part.

“When you leave the banquet that night, you really wish you could race the next day because that’s about the most motivating thing you could do is go to a banquet that you didn’t win because all you want to do is change that. And you want to do it as quickly as possible but you’ve got to wait until Daytona to get going again.”

The sport celebrates Kyle Busch’s championship at 8 p.m. ET today on NBCSN. This marks the first year the NASCAR Awards Show has been in Nashville. Busch was a part of the WWE event in the city on Monday, was honored by the Nashville Predators before Tuesday’s NHL game and took part in the Burnouts on Broadway on Wednesday with many other playoff drivers.

While Busch basks in the celebration, teammate Martin Truex Jr. deals with the pain of finishing second in the championship for a second consecutive year. Logano passed Truex late to win last year’s championship. Truex’s title run this season was derailed, in part, by his crew putting the wrong tires on the wrong side of the car in last month’s championship race in Miami.

Had things gone a little differently, Truex could have won three consecutive championships, matching Cale Yarborough’s accomplishment from 1976-78.

“I’ll tell you when I get over it,” Truex said of the pain of finishing second again for the title. “It’s a  big deal. Work all year long to put yourself in that position. When it doesn’t turn out the way you hope, it’s tough.

“A lot of people put a lot of effort into it. It’s not something that goes away. It takes time. Honestly, I’m still sour about finishing second last year, too. Two years in a row finishing second hurts. you have to learn from it and move on, but you never forget it.”