When local racing fans last saw Ty Dillon, he was causing a bit of a ruckus at Toledo Speedway.
At the Federated Car Care 200 in September, he responded to Brennan Poole's bump from behind by doing the same, resulting in Poole spinning out and finishing 16th. Dillon finished second.
Four months earlier, Dillon spun out Frank Kimmel with 10 laps left, en route to winning the 2011 Menards 200.
At the time, Dillon, 20, declared that in both instances, he wasn't going to let other drivers push him around on the track.
Nearly a year later, Dillon stands by his actions. His style -- don't back down, and don't second-guess yourself -- has been a key to his success so far this season on the NASCAR Camping World Trucks Series. He will race at 12:30 p.m. Saturday in the VFW 200 at Michigan International Speedway, a day before the track hosts the Sprint Cup Series' Pure Michigan 400.
■9-10 a.m., 11 a.m.-12:20 p.m.: Camping World Trucks Series practice
■12:30-2 p.m.: Sprint Cup practice
■2:10-3:30 p.m.: Camping World Trucks Series practice
■4:10 p.m.: Pure Michigan 400 qualifying
■8:30-9:25 a.m.: Sprint Cup practice
■9:35 a.m.: VFW 200 qualifying
■11 a.m.: Sprint Cup practice
■12:30 p.m.: VFW 200 SUNDAY
■1 p.m.: Pure Michigan 400
"I learned a lot about myself at the time, and I stood my ground," said Dillon, last year's ARCA champion. "But it's important because other drivers will eventually gain respect for you, and they'll know how you race. If you're someone who lets others push you around, then you'll get pushed around."
Dillon is second in the Camping World Trucks Series points standings, eight points behind Timothy Peters, and will be part of a 35-driver field that includes Sprint Cup drivers Brad Keselowski and Kurt Busch.
"Your driving style changes 100 percent," said Dillon, who won last year's ARCA Rain Eater Wiper Blades 200 at MIS on a last-lap restart. "The trucks have more horsepower, and the trucks have so much downforce and side force. But MIS is a real fast race track, and I'm excited to see what the trucks can do. There will be so much of a difference."
While Dillon returns to a familiar track under new auspices, Marcos Ambrose returns to the track where he set a qualifying lap record in winning the pole for June's Quicken Loans 400.
Ambrose will drive in the Pure Michigan 400 a week after winning Sunday's Finger Lakes 355 at Watkins Glen International in Watkins Glen, N.Y. Ambrose edged out Brad Keselowski with a bump-and-run maneuver on the final lap that ultimately allowed Ambrose to pull away.
"I think that lap was one of the best laps of my racing career," Ambrose said. "I'm sure Brad will tell you the same thing. It was just a thrill to be in that position, to be able to duke it out for a Sprint Cup win in those conditions.
"You had the fastest three cars of the race duking out for the win on the last lap. That's the way it should be."
However, Ambrose will have to adjust quickly from winning on the 2.45-mile road course at The Glen -- one that emphasizes precision driving instead of sheer speed -- to the 2-mile oval at MIS.
"I think all the drivers will switch straight into Michigan super-high-speed-oval mode on the first lap and get after it," Ambrose said. "I don't expect any concerns about switching from road races to ovals. It's a different discipline, no doubt about it.
"You've got to really carry so much speed on these high-speed ovals. You've got to know what you're doing at those speeds to get the car around, especially in the first few laps when you get back to a track like Michigan."
DRIVER APPEARANCES: Dale Earnhardt, Jr., will be at Cedar Point in Sandusky today as part of the park's "Wheels of Thunder V."
Earnhardt will take part in a question-and-answer session at 5:10 p.m. in Celebration Plaza, then will race fans at the Grand Prix Go-Carts from 5:40 p.m. to 6 p.m.
Dillon will sign autographs at the Bass Pro Shops in Rossford at 6 p.m. today.
CONTENDERS: NASCAR Contenders Live is holding a contest that gives auto racing fans a chance to win a package that includes a 2012 Toyota Camry SE, two tickets to the first-ever NASCAR Contenders Live fan event, two VIP tickets, and two VIP passes to attend the NASCAR Sprint Cup Series race at Chicagoland Speedway on Sept. 16, a one-year subscription to SiriusXM Satellite radio, and $500 cash.
Contact Rachel Lenzi at: firstname.lastname@example.org, 419-724-6510 or on Twitter @RLenziBlade.