Ty Dillon enduring growing pains, still committed to Germain Racing

Ty Dillon sits 29th in the standings through 19 races but is confident his team can turn things around. Michael Allio/Icon Sportswire

LOUDON, N.H. -- Ty Dillon has seemed comfortable driving for a team affiliate rather than driving directly for his grandfather, Richard Childress.

And despite struggles this year as he works to learn a new crew chief and a new car, that comfort level hasn't changed.

Dillon finished 24th in the NASCAR Cup series standings in 2017, and the Germain Racing team made changes in the offseason among its car leadership, replacing Robert "Bootie" Barker with Matt Borland as crew chief as well as changing other engineering staff.

Those changes haven't produced the results the team had hoped for, however, as Dillon currently sits 29th in the standings through 19 races, last among the RCR affiliate drivers.

As the Cup series heads to New Hampshire Speedway on Sunday (2 p.m. ET, NBCSN), Dillon's team is struggling on the track at a time when many others in the RCR family of drivers also are struggling. At RCR, Austin Dillon, Ty's older brother, won the Daytona 500 but sits 18th in the standings, while his RCR teammate Ryan Newman is 19th. The other RCR affiliate drivers: Bubba Wallace is 25th and Kasey Kahne 27th. And then there's Ty Dillon.

"We've been a little disappointed with what we set out as our original goals," Dillon said. "It's been a little bit of a challenging season for Team Chevrolet in general.

"We're working hard. Everybody is pulling in the same direction. We'd be lying to say we weren't frustrated, for sure. We're trying everything."

There is limited funding for wind-tunnel time, and Dillon said the team is behind in the development of the Camaro.

"We've got to be super-efficient in every single thing we do," he said. "We have weekends that we do it, and then we have weekends we make one mistake and that's the difference between running in the top 20 and running 25th-28th. It's frustrating at times. But we're working through it."

It hasn't been frustrating to the point that Dillon is second-guessing whether driving for Germain Racing is a smart move, however. He signed a multiyear contract extension last September to stay at the RCR affiliate.

"I've gone through a learning curve," Dillon said. "When things didn't go right at RCR, I knew how to approach it with that company -- not that it was my grandfather [as owner], I just knew how to get my opinion across.

"At the end of last year and this year, I've grown as a person, as far as communicating. I'm still young in the sport, as far as communicating ... and really opening up my mind and making sure I'm saying the right things to help our team to progress and knowing how much an impact that can have."

A 38th-place finish at Kansas actually helped the team, Dillon said, by bringing him and Borland and the team closer together in times of adversity. But the team's only top-20 finish since then was a sixth at Daytona. He has made it to the second round of qualifying (top 24 at most tracks) only three times this year.

"We're definitely unique personalities," Dillon said. "It's a tough situation to jump into a single-car team with a new driver and new group of guys.

"It's hard to expect it to blossom out of the gate. Kansas was kind of a turning point. We had a really bad run there and got caught up in a crash on top of it. We all pulled together at that point."

Dillon obviously hopes to see progress. He says he is committed to the Germain team.

"I'm growing," Dillon said. "We're all growing. We're kind of going through a little bit of a growing pain changing a body with GM and Camaro.

"It's a little tougher for a team like us to do it. But we're working hard. We're not giving up on it. We feel very confident we can turn the curve."