YOUNG GUN DILLON COMES OUT BLAZING WITH FAST WEEKEND AT TEXAS
Fort Worth, TX (April 9, 2017) - Prior to the 2017 season, Germain Racing would cringe whenever they saw Texas approaching on the Monster Energy NASCAR Cup Series schedule. Having struggled at the Fort Worth facility in the past, the GEICO team turned the tables on the high-speed, newly paved 1.5-mile oval over the weekend.
While the first practice session on Friday saw Dillon finish up 30th on the speed chart, the Sunoco Rookie of the Year candidate turned heads in qualifying. Dillon and his No. 13 GEICO Chevrolet SS advanced to the second round of qualifying before only narrowly missing the final round of twelve cars when he ended up 14th. On Saturday, the youngster went on a tear and shot straight up the scoring pylon, leading the field for the bulk of practice before ending the session in the third position.
Starting 14th on Sunday, Dillon and his GEICO Chevy ran solidly in the top-20 and by lap 35 he had hustled his way up to the 12th position. Everything appeared to be going as planned until lap 105 heard him report to crew chief Bootie Barker that he heard a pop come from the right-front side of the GEICO machine. Running in the 17thposition, Dillon maintained his pace and remained focused on holding his spot on the racetrack. The car continued to perform without incident, however just 15 laps later, on lap 120, Dillon reported another pop. Fortunately, a caution flag waved just a single lap later, allowing him to deliver the No. 13 GEICO Chevy to the Germain Racing pit crew for further assessment. The team provided him with four fresh Goodyear tires, a full tank of fuel and affirmation that the car appeared fine.
When the race returned to green on lap 126, Dillon restarted from the 20th position after spending a few extra moments on pit road to have the car examined. The setback was minimal, as he quickly pedaled the GEICO Chevy back toward the front of the field, reaching 13th by lap 177. Dillon spent the bulk of the afternoon on the lead lap and remained there as the checkered flag closed out an exciting 500-miles of racing. He crossed the finish line in the 17th position and was recorded as the highest finishing rookie of the day.
Only the wreck at the season-opening Daytona 500 has thwarted the young driver and since then he has recorded consistent top-20 finishes. While he sits 24th in the point standings, he is just 11-points shy of Dale Earnhardt, Jr., who sits 20th, and 29-points removed from Kurt Busch in the 15th position.
"It was a good run for our GEICO Chevy today. The guys at Germain built a new chassis and a new body for Texas and it was really strong all weekend," Dillon said. "We had speed and it definitely helps for a rookie like me to have a car that can go fast like that. We definitely learned a lot today by running up front with some good cars. We're excited with how our season's going and the way we're building momentum and getting better each week, so this was a good confidence boost going into the off-week."
Dillon and the Germain Racing team will enjoy the first off-weekend of the season before returning to action in Bristol, TN, for race number eight of the 2017 Monster Energy NASCAR Cup Series season.
Ty Dillon and the No. 13 GEICO Chevrolet SS will hit the track at Bristol Motor Speedway for the weekend's opening practice session on Friday, April 21st, at 11:30 AM (ET). Qualifying will follow at4:45 PM (ET).
The Food City 500 Monster Energy NASCAR Cup Series race is on Sunday, April 23rd, and it will be televised live on FOX beginning at 2:00 PM (ET). The Performance Racing Network (PRN) will carry the live radio broadcast, along with SiriusXM NASCAR Radio, channel 90.
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