YOUNG GUN TY DILLON HUSTLES TO TOP-15 FINISH IN ATLANTA
HAMPTON, Ga. (March 5, 2017) - After a strong performance was derailed by crashing cars a week ago at the season-opening Daytona 500, Ty Dillon and his GEICO Racing team looked to build upon their solid foundation and bring home an impressive finish at Atlanta Motor Speedway on Sunday
afternoon. Dillon, a Sunoco Rookie of the Year contender, ran inside the top-20 for the majority of the 500-mile event and fought back from two laps down to finish on the lead lap, in the 15th position.
With the 325-lap race being divided into three stages (85, 85 and155 laps, respectively), Dillon knew tire management and survival in the first half of the Folds of Honor QuikTrip 500 was going to be the key to a successful ending. Starting from the 26th position, Dillon quickly propelled the No. 13 GEICO Chevrolet into the top-15 by lap 40. With the race staying caution-free, another green flag pit stop cycled through the field with less than 10 laps remaining in Stage 1, pushing the rookie driver outside the top-20. Despite fighting an ill-handling GEICO machine during this period, Dillon held the 25th position at the end of the first stage.
While another caution-free 85-lap period ensued, Stage 2 would spread the field around the 1.5-mile speedway and place the pit crews on display as additional green flag stops proved fateful to a driver's position on the track. Dillon found himself back inside the top-20, in the 19th position, at the completion of the second stage; however, the No. 13 GEICO Chevrolet was trapped two laps down to the leaders.
Over the final 155 laps, Dillon continued to battle a tight-handling Chevrolet early in the runs, while also managing his tires properly to sustain a longer green-flag period. When the caution flag was displayed on lap 263, crew chief Bootie Barker played strategy and instructed Dillon to take the wave-around, allowing his driver to recover a lost lap and be just a single lap in arrears. A timely yellow flag was displayed a short 16 circuits later, permitting Dillon to visit pit road for fresh rubber. By lap 295, Dillon radioed to his Germain Racing team, "I've got something I can drive now," and the 25-year-old was correct in his assessment. Another caution 15 laps later presented the opportunity for Dillon to return to the lead lap. Over the final 15 laps, Dillon pressed forward to cross the finish line in the 15th position. This was Dillon's third top-15 finish of his short career in the NASCAR Cup Series.
"It was a solid day for our GEICO Chevy. We got in a little bit of a hole early and got ourselves a couple of laps down, but Bootie (Barker, crew chief) made some good calls there at the end to do the wave around," Dillon said following the race. "Our car was strong, so a strong car kind of overcame some mistakes from us early. I'm proud of our guys, we really fought hard to get 15th and a solid day for the real first race of the season I feel like for us. Proud of the start we got and we will just keep trudging along."
Race number three of the Monster Energy NASCAR Cup Series season will be held in Las Vegas, Nevada. Dillon and his No. 13 GEICO Racing team will head out west and hit the track at Las Vegas Motor Speedway on Friday, March 10for opening practice at 2:00 pm ET, with qualifying following at7:45 pm ET.
The green flag will fly for the Kobalt 400 on Sunday, March 12 at 3:30 pm ET. FOX will carry the live television broadcast, beginning at 3:00 pm ET. The Performance Racing Network and Sirius XM NASCAR Radio Channel 90 will also carry the live radio broadcast.
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To learn more about Germain Racing, please visit: www.germainracing.com