By Seth Eggert, NASCAR Correspondent
For this week’s edition of Climbing the Ladder, Seth Eggert sat down with NASCAR Gander Outdoors Truck Series driver Tyler Dippel. He drives the No. 02 D&A Concrete / Lobas Productions / Jersey Filmmaker Chevrolet Silverado for Young’s Motorsports.
Dippel finished runner-up in the NASCAR K&N Pro Series East Championship Standings last year and in the 2014 PASS National Super Late Model Series.
The 19-year-old is currently 11th in the championship points standings, 146-points behind points leader Grant Enfinger, and 81-points behind the playoff cutoff, held by Harrison Burton. Dippel is also running for Sunoco Rookie of the Year honors.
Seth Eggert: How did you become interested in motorsports?
Tyler Dippel: “I came from a motorsports family. My whole family is into racing. I got started young racing go-karts, dirt modifieds, and it took off from there.”
SE: Why did you chose to follow in their footsteps?
TD: “I always had a passion for it growing up. It was what I loved to do.”
SE: How did you convince your parents to let you race? Was it difficult?
TD: “No, they were all for it. I started in motocross, dirt bikes, and stuff. I got hurt a couple of times and mom didn’t like that. But she was good with me in cars.”
SE: Where and when was your first race? What was the result?
TD: “I’d say it was when I was about seven years old in a Slingshot. It’s like a scaled-down version of a Northeast Modified. It was at Oakland Valley Speedway and it went pretty well.”
SE: Who would you consider your mentor?
TD: “On asphalt, I’d say someone like Jimmie Johnson. On dirt, somebody like Brett Hearn.”
SE: What inspires you to compete?
TD: “Just being able to get out there and race every day at tracks like Charlotte Motor Speedway, in a series like the NASCAR Gander Outdoors Truck Series, and the level of competition.”
SE: Do you have any superstitions around the racetrack?
TD: “I don’t believe in that kind of stuff.”
SE: Is there a specific track that you would want to win at?
TD: “Probably Eldora, hopefully this year. That’s where I came from so that would be pretty cool.”
SE: With all of your teammates being rookies this year, who do you turn to for advice at the track?
TD: “Probably Gus (Dean) a little bit more because he’s ran these kinds of tracks. I talk to Gus way more too because we work out together.”
SE: In addition to NASCAR stockcars, you have competed in big block modifieds and late model competition. Is there a racing discipline that you want to try and haven’t done so yet?
TD: “I want to drive a Sprint Car, 410 in Outlaws. I think that would be pretty badass.”
SE: How did your time at Lebanon Valley Speedway help prepare you for your NASCAR career?
TD: “I think that helped me a lot. I had a lot of success there at a young age. It helped me build my confidence for everything that I’d moved up to do so far.”
SE: What kind of advice did you get from team owners like David Gilliland?
TD: “David helped me out a lot in K&N because he was a driver too. So, he gets what you’re talking about when you say that the car is doing this, or can you help me out there. He knows what you’re feeling. That helped me the most.”
SE: With your dirt background, would you want to see a second dirt track on the Truck schedule? Where?
TD: “Yes. They (NASCAR) would have to have a select racetrack to run. Charlotte’s Dirt Track would be pretty cool. It’s close to the teams, right across the street from the oval. Or maybe Knoxville, that would be pretty cool.”
SE: Do you believe that your dirt background will give you an advantage at Eldora Speedway, allowing you to compete for the win?
TD: “Of course, I expect to be running up front there.”
SE: What does the future hold for you, where will you be one year from now?
TD: “I just hope to be competing for wins in whatever series I go into. This year is my rookie year, so a little bit of learning. Hopefully we can get the team better and competing for wins.”