TY DILLON'S TOP-10 RICHMOND RUN SPOILED BY LATE-RACE CONTACT
Richmond, VA (April 30, 2017) - Germain Racing played a home game of sorts when they arrived in Richmond, Virginia, this weekend to do battle just a short jaunt from GEICO's corporate office in Washington, DC. Coming off of a top-15 finish in Bristol, the GEICO team has been on a roll with their high-spirited rookie, Ty Dillon. They aimed to continue impressing in the Monster Energy NASCAR Cup Series when they hit the track for practice at the ¾-mile oval on Friday.
Dillon and his No. 13 GEICO Chevrolet SS opened up the weekend 28th in the first practice. Later, he would advance to the second round of qualifying and land 24th on Sunday's starting grid. After being 20th and 30th in Saturday's respective practice sessions, crew chief Bootie Barker and the Germain crew got to work, taking heavy swings at adjustments prior to Sunday's 300-mile event. Their efforts would pay dividends when the race got underway.
Dillon began his trek from the 24th position when the green flag set the field loose for 400-laps of racing amid steamy temperatures, bright sunshine and a large crowd. While the temperature in the GEICO Chevy would eclipse 140-degrees, Dillon remained cool, as he methodically began dicing his way through the field. By lap 25, he was already in the 18th position and in hot pursuit of the racecars in front of him. Dillon continued his charge and broke into the top-15 on lap 37, when he captured the 14th position. On lap 73, the GEICO Chevy entered the top-10 before closing out the first stage of the race in 14th place on lap 100. During the stage break, Dillon brought his racecar to the attention of the Germain Racing pit crew, who quickly provided him with four fresh tires, a full tank of fuel and an air pressure adjustment, leaving him one spot to the good when he retook to the racing surface.
Dillon wasted little time in returning to work when stage two got underway on lap 111. He restarted 13th, but promptly made his way back into the top-10 on lap 132. The rookie driver exhibited a veteran's poise when, on lap 155, he chased down race winner Joey Logano and used the nose of his GEICO Chevrolet to move the No. 22 car out of the way before taking over the ninth position. He briefly dropped to 10th after being passed by Ryan Newman on lap 175, but rebounded and made quick work of Martin Truex, Jr. on lap 192 and was back in ninth place when the second stage concluded eight laps later on lap 200.
Dillon continued his strong run throughout the final stage of the race, but was struck from behind and forced into the wall as the No. 13 GEICO Chevy was exiting turn three with just 42 laps to go. The hard contact resulted in significant damage and left the Germain Racing pit crew scrambling to repair the car during Dillon's visit to the pit stall. They worked in expedient fashion and the GEICO Chevy rejoined the field in the 28th position when the race returned to green on lap 362. Despite battling a heavily damaged racecar, Dillon managed to hustle the No. 13 GEICO car to a 26th place finish; a challenging end to an otherwise successful day.
"I'm so proud of this GEICO Chevy team. We really had a fast racecar today. There's no question," Dillon said. "I hate it that we ended up damaged there at the end. I'm not sure how I could've avoided what happened there but the GEICO Chevy was really fast and we were able to gain some stage points today. Next week is the GEICO 500 at Talladega and I'm sure we are all looking forward to getting there."
Germain Racing will now head to Talladega for GEICO's marquis event, the GEICO 500. The team will find the 2.66-mile facility adorned in GEICO's corporate colors, as well as fun, engaging activities for race fans at GEICO's display area, including remote control car racing and an appearance by Ty Dillon.
Ty Dillon and the No. 13 GEICO Chevrolet SS will hit the track at Talladega Superspeedway for the weekend's opening practice session on Friday, May 5th, at 2:30 PM (ET). Qualifying will follow on Saturday at 4 PM (ET).
The GEICO 500 Monster Energy NASCAR Cup Series race is on Sunday, May 7th, and it will be televised live on FOX beginning at 2:00 PM (ET). The Motor Racing Network (MRN) will carry the live radio broadcast, along with SiriusXM NASCAR Radio, channel 90.
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