RACE IN REVIEW: Martinsville Speedway
Ridgeway, VA (March 26, 2018) - The spring race in Martinsville often boasts unpredictable weather, but very few could have suspected what would transpire as the weekend progressed. The half-mile racetrack was blanketed with snow and ice, forcing the postponement of the STP 500 until Monday at 2 PM (ET). It was the first time a Monster Energy NASCAR Cup Series event was postponed due to snow since Atlanta in 1993.
Dillon and the Germain Racing team were able to complete both practice sessions on Friday before the snow set in. Dillon and his No. 13 GEICO Camaro ZL1 were fast off of the truck and posted the 12th quickest time in opening practice before later finishing up 14th in the final session. While the group eagerly anticipated qualifying with their fast GEICO machine, the weather would force the cancelation of qualifying, leaving Dillon to start Sunday's race from the 32nd position.
Starting 32nd when the green flag kicked off 500-laps of racing on Monday afternoon, Dillon would have his work cut out for him. Martinsville Speedway is a challenging place to pass and make up track position, so the GEICO driver methodically navigated the flat half-mile oval, slowly picking up positions, while at the same time narrowly avoiding peril. For the most part, Dillon was quiet on the team's radio frequency, while his spotter, Billy O'Dea, filled the airwaves with direction as the close-quarters racing action heated up.
When the competition caution took place on lap 50, Dillon had pedaled his No. 13 GEICO Camaro ZL1 up to 27th place before visiting pit road for four fresh Goodyear tires, a full tank of Sunoco Racing fuel and an air pressure adjustment. Dillon was quick on the track and the Germain Racing pit crew mimicked his efforts on pit road, returning the GEICO machine to the racing surface four spots to the good, in the 23rd position.
As the race wore on, Dillon's GEICO car got stronger, as the crew continued to make helpful adjustments during each pit stop. By lap 240, he was recording lap times equal to the leader, while also managing the door-to-door traffic inherent with 'The Paperclip'. O'Dea could be heard repeatedly echoing the sometimes harrowing phrase, "Three-wide" as racecars yearned to take up every inch of real estate, but Dillon was unrelenting, keeping his foot heavy on the gas pedal of the GEICO Camaro ZL1. When the checkered flag signaled the conclusion of 263-miles of racing, Dillon crossed the finish line in the 22nd position, notching a solid day for the Germain Racing team.
"We definitely took steps in the right direction this weekend," Dillon said after the race. "This season hasn't started the way we would like, but everyone at Germain Racing is working hard to continue building and improving our program. We still need to get more speed out of our GEICO Camaro ZL1, but we made progress this week, which we will build off of for Texas."
After a busy start to the year, the NASCAR Cup Series will enjoy a weekend off before returning to action in Fort Worth, TX, on April 8th.
Ty Dillon and the No. 13 GEICO Camaro ZL1 will hit the track at Texas Motor Speedway for the weekend's opening practice session on Friday, April 6th, at 1 PM (ET). Qualifying will follow at 5:45 PM (ET).
The O'Reilly Auto Parts 500 Monster Energy NASCAR Cup Series race is on Sunday, April 8th, and it will be televised live on FS1 beginning at 2 PM (ET). The Performance Racing Network (PRN) will carry the live radio broadcast, along with SiriusXM NASCAR Radio, channel 90.
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