GEICO RACING BRISTOL REPORT
TY DILLON HUSTLES TO TOP-15 FINISH AT RAIN-DELAYED BRISTOL
BRISTOL, Tenn. (April 24, 2017) - After heavy downpours postponed Sunday's Food Lion 500, the Monster Energy NASCAR Cup Series took to the high banks of Bristol (Tenn.) Motor Speedway under sunny skies on Monday afternoon. During the 500-lap race, Ty Dillon and the No. 13 GEICO Racing team were the recipient of four free pass awards and would use this benefit to their advantage in the closing stages to cross the finish line in the 15th position. This strong effort marks the Sunoco Rookie of the Year contender's second top-15 finish of the 2017 season.
With qualifying being rained out on Friday afternoon, the starting lineup was set by championship owner points, placing Dillon in the 24th position for the showdown in Thunder Valley. During the opening 125 laps, the young gun would find himself a lap down on two separate occasions, both of which would take place a handful of laps before a caution, allowing Dillon to return to the lead lap each time. While the No. 13 GEICO Chevrolet fought a "loose in, loose off, and tight in the middle" handling condition, Dillon brushed the wall at the conclusion of Stage 1, causing damage to the right rear fender.
Once the Germain Racing pit crew made repairs to fix the damage under caution, Dillon restarted from the 23rd position on lap 137. Fighting an ill-handling condition that would hinder his ability to get through the corner, Dillon would go a lap down on lap 181, but fight to stay in the free pass position. A timely break in action came on lap 210 as the yellow flag was displayed, allowing Dillon to return to his rightful place on the lead lap. By the completion of Stage 2, the GEICO Racing Chevrolet held 23rd-place.
By lap 300, Dillon began his steady climb through the field and drove his way into the 18th position shortly after. Running consistently inside the top-20, the rookie held his ground on-track, while the GEICO team, led by Crew Chief Bootie Barker, continued to make positive air pressure adjustments to help Dillon's handling. When a caution came on lap 421, the North Carolina native received his fourth and final Lucky Dog award, allowing the No. 13 Chevrolet to return to the lead lap and take over the 16th position. Quickly, Dillon broke into the top-15, where the Germain Racing entry would remain over the final 40 laps to bring home a 15th-place finish. "It was definitely a battle for our No. 13 GEICO Chevy team today," said Ty Dillon after the race. "We got damage to the right rear at the end of the first stage that really hurt our speed through the rest of the day. So, our race really became about getting track position any way that we could. My spotter did great getting me through traffic, and crew chief Bootie Barker and my guys on pit road did everything they could to keep us where we needed to be. We had to fight for all that we could, and I gave it everything that I had. it was a good day to come out of Bristol with a 15th-place finish."
The Monster Energy NASCAR Cup Series will now head to another short track, the .75-mile oval of Richmond International Raceway. Dillon and his No. 13 GEICO Racing team will hit the track on Friday, April 28for opening practice at 11:30 am ET, with qualifying following at 4:45 pm ET.
The green flag will fly for the Toyota Owners 400 on Sunday, April 30 at 2:00 pm ET. FOX will carry the live television broadcast, with the Motor Racing Network and Sirius XM NASCAR Radio Channel 90 carrying the live radio broadcast.
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