SPARTA, Ky. — Austin and Ty Dillon had to be separated by their mother the first time they raced against each other at Kentucky Speedway.
Running in the middle of the pack in Bandolero cars, Ty spun his older brother and the contact almost led to fisticuffs. They didn't speak the entire trip home.
They're back this weekend for their first showdown at NASCAR's national level. Ty will make his debut in the Trucks Series, which Austin leads by two points heading into Saturday night's race. The grandsons of NASCAR team owner Richard Childress said their grandfather and both parents will be on hand to watch as they take the next step toward reaching their goal of duplicating the success of brothers Kurt and Kyle Busch.
"This is really special for us," Austin said Friday. "We've always looked at the Busch brothers, it's pretty cool to look up to them how they've made it in the Cup Series and we want to win like they do. We both have a lot of heart and this is going to be a fun weekend for us."
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The Dillons are trying to join the impressive list of brothers who have made it to NASCAR's top level: the Allisons, Busches, Labontes, Waltrips and Wallaces have a combined nine Cup titles among them.
Saturday night's race is just another milestone for the Dillons, who clearly are on the fast track in NASCAR.
Austin is in his second full season of Trucks, and the 21-year-old said Friday he expects to announce in the next two weeks he'll drive a full Nationwide schedule next year for Richard Childress Racing. Ty has a season-high seven wins and leads the driver standings in the ARCA series. The 19-year-old said he and his ARCA team will move to the Trucks Series next year.
With Clint Bowyer expected to announce next week he's leaving RCR to drive for Michael Waltrip Racing, there will be plenty of opportunities for Childress to get his grandsons seat time over the next few years with the goal of getting Austin into the Sprint Cup Series.
Austin is scheduled to make his Cup debut next weekend at Kansas Speedway.
"I couldn't be prouder of both of those guys. It's just been a great year for the Childress family and the Dillon family," Childress said two weeks ago at Chicago. "We put a plan together for Austin and Ty, and Austin is right in line with where we want to see his career. Ty, our plans are to put him in the truck next year and see how it goes there."
Childress has said repeatedly how watching his grandsons race has made work fun again, but Austin and Ty both joked Friday that "Pop Pop" never really has much fun. Childress is a no-nonsense owner with more than 200 victories and 12 NASCAR championships. Earlier this year, the 65-year-old was fined $150,000 by NASCAR for punching Kyle Busch in the garage.
His grandsons said Friday there is no softer side to their grandfather, who hunts big game in his free time. They both complained he gets them up early during vacations to do chores, and they've spent several hours the past few Christmas mornings repairing fences and dams.
"Ty and I like to sleep and he makes us get up and it's no fun," Austin said. "He loves to work. If he's not working on race cars, he's going to work on something on the farm or at the house in Montana. He can't sit still. He has a bad ADD problem. He just has to do something at all times. I don't know how he does it. He's getting old now, he's old, and he doesn't stop it."
Ty said the payoff is worth it.
"He gives us a seat on the plane, and he lets us drive his cars," Ty smiled.