It’s a good time to be a Dillon brother.
Austin and Ty Dillon, grandsons of long-time NASCAR team owner Richard Childress, took more giant steps toward major-league success in auto racing this year by having fine seasons in the Nationwide and Camping World Truck Series, respectively.
Along with James Buescher, Ricky Stenhouse Jr., Nelson Piquet Jr., Timothy Peters, Joey Coulter and Parker Kligerman, the Dillons continued the ride toward positive results in NASCAR’s top series.
Buescher made perhaps the biggest breakthrough, winning the Truck Series championship while notching four victories. He also won the Nationwide Series opener at Daytona International Speedway.
Stenhouse won the Nationwide championship for the second straight season and moves up to Sprint Cup next year.
Coulter, who is moving from Richard Childress Racing to Kyle Busch Motorsports next season, scored a Truck Series win and finished third in the points, behind Peters, who won twice. Kligerman won once and finished fifth in trucks, and he’ll move up to Nationwide next season with KBM.
The Truck Series produced nine first-time winners this season, including the highly regarded Piquet, who won twice, added a victory in the Nationwide Series and figures to have a very bright future. He finished seventh in Truck points while winning four poles.
Other first-time Truck winners were John King (who scored a major upset in the wild season-opener at Daytona), Cale Gale, Justin Lofton, Ryan Blaney, Ty Dillon, Buescher, Coulter and Kligerman.
Blaney, 18, became the youngest Truck Series winner with a victory at Iowa Speedway.
As for the Dillons, they fell short of championship goals in the Nationwide and Truck series but still had excellent seasons.
Austin, who won the Truck title in 2011, scored two Nationwide wins and finished third in points on the way to winning Rookie of the Year honors.
Ty won Rookie of the Year honors in his first full season in the Truck Series, and was in the championship hunt all the way to the season finale at Homestead. He finished fourth in points.
Mike Hembree is NASCAR Editor for SPEED.com and has been covering motorsports for 30 years. He is a six-time winner of the National Motorsports Press Association Writer of the Year Award.