NASCAR: Ty Dillon lands 2021 Daytona 500 ride

Ty Dillon, Germain Racing, NASCAR (Photo by Jared C. Tilton/Getty Images)
Ty Dillon, Germain Racing, NASCAR (Photo by Jared C. Tilton/Getty Images) /

Ty Dillon does not have a full-time ride lined up for the 2021 NASCAR Cup Series season, but he is set to attempt to qualify for the Daytona 500.

Ty Dillon lost his ride with Germain Racing following the 2020 NASCAR Cup Series season after the team shut down and sold their charter to the new team started by Cup Series driver Denny Hamlin and NBA legend Michael Jordan, 23XI Racing. Bubba Wallace, not Dillon, was confirmed as their driver.

Dillon has not landed another full-time ride for the 2021 season, but he is still slated to have the opportunity to compete in the season-opening Daytona 500.

The 28-year-old Lewisville, North Carolina native is set to drive the #96 Toyota for Gaunt Brothers Racing at Daytona International Speedway next month with sponsorship from Bass Pro Shops and Black Rifle Coffee Company.

Dillon won’t be guaranteed a starting spot in the race since the #96 Toyota is a non-chartered entry.

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As a result, he will need to successfully qualify the car in one of the four remaining open spots in the starting lineup in single-car qualifying on Wednesday, February 10 or in the Bluegreen Vacations Duels on Thursday, February 11.

Dillon has competed in the 200-lap “Great American Race” around the four-turn, 2.5-mile (4.023-kilometer) high-banked oval in Daytona Beach, Florida in each of the last six years, and he recorded a top finish of sixth place in the race in 2019. He has also finished in sixth (2018) and fourth (2019) in July races at the track.

Here is what Dillon had to say about the opportunity to be back for a seventh attempt in a team release.

"“Gaunt Brothers Racing has given me a great opportunity to compete in the Daytona 500 and I couldn’t be happier. 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.”"

Here is what team president Marty Gaunt had to say.

"“The best way to get a good start to your season is to have a good finish in the Daytona 500. 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.”"

Here is what noted conservationist and Bass Pro Shops founder Johnny Morris had to add.

"“In addition to Ty’s competitive spirit and lifelong passion for racing, his love of fishing, hunting and the great outdoors makes him a great ambassador for Bass Pro Shops. We know Ty lives for moments like the Daytona 500 just like we do, and we couldn’t be more excited for him to represent Bass Pro Shops in the biggest race of the year.”"

There are currently eight confirmed non-chartered entries to go along with the 36 chartered entries confirmed for the season-opening race, meaning that at least four drivers will fail to qualify. Last year, the #96 Toyota was one of the cars that missed out after Daniel Suarez crashed in his Duel race.

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Fox is set to broadcast the Daytona 500 live from Daytona International Speedway beginning at 2:30 p.m. ET on Sunday, February 14.