FORT WORTH, Texas – Since its inception, racing has always been a family sport which has witnessed countless generations carry the torch as they set the path to their own futures.
That time is now for Dillon Welch.
The son of the highly-respected broadcast personality Vince Welch, Dillon is set to make his Verizon IndyCar Series debut on the Advance Auto Parts INDYCAR Radio Network tonight in the DXC Technology 600 at Texas Motor Speedway.
The native Hoosier will be calling the action from Turn 2 of the 1.5-mile superspeedway oval. Admittedly, he said the numbness hasn’t worn off despite getting a taste of the dream with Friday’s track activities.
“This is huge for me,” Dillon said. “I feel pretty fortunate and blessed that at 24 years old I’ve gotten to do some pretty cool stuff already, but this is really cool for me because growing up in Indy, the Indy 500 was the first race I ever went to. That’s what got me hooked on it.
“So growing up there, you listen to the radio network guys and it just becomes part of the month of May tradition and that’s obviously a big part for all of us. To me, this is really cool. This is something that means a lot to me that those guys think enough of me to bring me onboard.
The Ball State University graduate is no rookie to the racing or broadcasting world. Dillon began racing quarter midgets at the age of 7 and progressed up to compete in USAC at the regional and eventually national level. He even drove for the late Bryan Clauson in 2012 before jetting off to college.
By 2014, he got his first opportunity by calling races for USAC and was working with the Motor Racing Network (MRN) the next year calling NASCAR races. The demands have since moved the joy of racing to more of a part-time project. He still makes a few starts a year, including the annual Chili Bowl Nationals in Tulsa, Oklahoma.
Having that background as a racer has helped the younger Welch build a unique skill set when it comes to broadcasting.
“It helps me as an announcer because maybe I see things differently that a driver is doing or did that I just understand a little better because I’ve done it,” Dillon said.
“I think it helps, too, from a relationship standpoint with those guys because, not that they look at other announcers as just an announcer, but knowing the guy that they’re talking to gets it and knows what they go through and that sort of thing. I think it helps from a respect standpoint, especially when I was younger and just getting started those guys knew I was a racer.”
Dillon shares his admiration for the professionalism and detail that the likes of Alan Bestwick, Marty Snider and his father possess. Dillon conceded that his father – a former Indy car reporter for ABC/ESPN before moving to his current position as a NASCAR announcer/reporter with FOX – has always been there to help with advice. Vince’s key rule is that it’s about “the relationships that you build” with everyone within the business, from crew members to media and everyone in between.
Needless to say, Vince Welch is beaming with pride.
“I’m certainly proud of Dillon for continuing to make his way in our very competitive and specialized industry,” Vince said. “It really has nothing to do with him doing what I do. It’s his passion, and as a dad you always take joy when your kids are finding satisfaction in doing what they love. That makes me most happy.”
It’s a passion that, like many, stemmed from the Indianapolis 500. Dillon admitted his goal is to one day make the call for “The Greatest Spectacle in Racing.”
“My dad and I kind of had a not a joke, but it was almost more of a goal for just a while, when I was racing we wanted me to win the Indy 500 and he be the one to interview me," Dillon said with a laugh. "Once I stopped racing, it became, for me, to be on the broadcast crew for the Indy 500 – whether it’s for radio or TV. That, to me, is the race.
“I love doing the NASCAR stuff and all that, but INDYCAR is where my heart lies. Just growing up in Indy, I think it’s natural for anybody. The Indy 500 is definitely the goal, for sure. That would be pretty amazing if that happened.”
Tune in to the Advance Auto Parts INDYCAR Radio Network for live coverage of the DXC Technology 600 beginning at 8 p.m. ET today. The radio network is available on local radio stations around the nation, Sirius 214, XM 209, RaceControl.IndyCar.com and indycarradio.com.