FONTANA RACE REPORT - TWISTED TEA CHEVY
Race: Auto Club 400
Date: March 26, 2017
Track: Auto Club Speedway, Fontana, CA
Ty Dillon and the No. 13 Twisted Tea Chevrolet SS team closed out NASCAR’s "West Coast Swing" with a 200-lap race at Auto Club Speedway. Dillon rolled off 21st to start the day. He struggled with a race car that was loose through most of the corner. Crew Chief Bootie Barker worked with air pressures and wedge adjustments to remedy the balance issue, but Dillon continued to be loose on exit. He finished Stage 1 in the 16th position.
Dillon continued to feel loose on exit in the second stage. Quiet on the radio for most of the stage, he battled with the Chevrolet SS but ran steady lap times. He used information from his spotter to find the best lane for the No. 13 Twisted Tea Chevrolet. Dillon was passed by the leaders in the closing laps of the stage, but finished in the 18th position and received the free pass to restart on the lead lap.
As the last car on the lead lap late in the third stage, but handling the best it had all day, Barker decided to play the fuel strategy game to try and get Dillon to the front of the field for the finish. When the leaders began making regularly scheduled pit stops with more than 40 laps to go and eventually needing to make another stop to finish the race, Barker kept Dillon out on track to stretch fuel mileage. With 37 laps to go, Barker finally called Dillon down pit road and gave him four tires and fuel. From that point, he could finish the race without needing to make another pit stop unlike the leaders. Unfortunately, a caution came out with 19 laps to go in the race and the strategy plan was foiled. When the checkers fell, Dillon finished in the 18th position on the lead lap.
Dillon said the struggle throughout the day ultimately yielded a good result:
"My No. 13 Twisted Tea Chevrolet team fought hard all day. We really struggled with the balance in the first two stages. I was tight through the center and loose on exit. Crew chief Bootie Barker worked with different adjustments to get us where we needed to be. Our Chevy SS was the best it had been all day there in that last segment. We made a strategy call and stretched our gas mileage to try and make it with only one green-flag stop to end the race while the leaders would need another, but late-race cautions kept that from working. We battled hard and, despite handling issues, it was a good end to the day."