Joliet, IL (June 30, 2019) - When the Monster Energy NASCAR Cup Series arrived at Chicagoland Speedway, Germain Racing aimed to continue making progress on the challenging intermediate track program with which many a team struggle. Ty Dillon and the GEICO Military team have experienced improvement across the board this season, so the group appeared confident as they unloaded the GEICO Military Camaro ZL1 for practice and qualifying on Saturday.
Dillon wasted little time settling in when he took to the track on Saturday. He shot up the scoring tower and the No. 13 GEICO Military Camaro ZL1 finished up the opening practice session in the 11th position. The speed continued into qualifying on Saturday evening and Dillon landed the 20th starting spot after cruising around the 1.5-mile D-shaped tri-oval in a prompt 31.067-seconds, at a speed of 173.818-mph.
When race day arrived, so did the impending threat of a storm. The skies were already darkening when Dillon buckled in for 400-miles of racing. The green flag waved and Dillon quickly snagged two positions in the opening two laps, moving up to 18th. Just 11-laps into the 400-lap event, the lightning
and heavy winds set in, which led to a red flag that would bring racing to a halt. The Windy City stayed true to its name, leaving fans and crewmembers alike scrambling to seek shelter amid 40+ mile per hour winds. Dillon and his GEICO Military machine were in the 18th position when they came to a stop on pit road. "Good start here, guys. Little tight in traffic, but other than that, I'm pretty good," Dillon said before climbing from his car to escape the thunderstorm.
Once the storm cleared, racing returned to green three-hours later on lap 16, and Dillon continued to look fast as he hustled his way around the suburban Chicago facility. He was running solidly in the top-20 and remained mostly quiet on the team's radio frequency. Lap 38 heard spotter, Billy O'Dea, note, "You're looking better in three and four, keep working with it." And, Dillon did continue to work with it, as he was turning lap times consistent with the leaders.
Unfortunately, it was the radio communication on lap 55 that was the heaviest. "Something's broke," Dillon reported. After a display of impressive speed throughout the first stage of the race, the No. 13 entry was forced to visit pit road under green flag conditions to investigate the issue. The finding was a broken stud on the left rear wheel, which ultimately sent the team to the garage to make the repair. The Germain Racing crew worked efficiently and returned the GEICO Military Camaro to the race 26-laps down to the field.
Although Dillon was dealt a tough blow, his optimism never waned and he continued to turn fast lap times. With full confidence in his equipment, he noted that it was the best mile and a half car of the season. Despite the circumstances, Dillon was having fun and passing cars with ease as he pedaled his fast GEICO Military Camaro ZL1 around the racetrack. "I'm going to go show off a little bit for you boys. This thing is good," Dillon said on lap 116.
The checkered flag waved and Dillon was relegated to a 35th place finish, but the result was not indicative of the performance of the speedy No. 13 GEICO Military Camaro ZL1.
"Our result doesn't show how much speed and grip we had in our GEICO Military Camaro ZL1. I feel very confident that today was going to be our best mile and a half race of the season, so far," Dillon said after the race. "My Germain Racing team continues to work hard to improve our cars and this weekend was a step in the right direction. It's a shame we had a loose wheel and broke a stud during the first stage, because even when I went back out after repairs, the car was still very good. We made the most of our situation though and learned as much as possible to carry over into future intermediate races."
The World Center of Racing now awaits the arrival of the GEICO Military team for race number 18 of the 2019 NASCAR Cup Series season. Germain Racing has experienced considerable success at superspeedways over the years and Dillon has scored a pair of sixth place finishes in his last two visits to Daytona.
Ty Dillon and the No. 13 GEICO Military Camaro ZL1 will hit the track at Daytona International Speedway for the weekend's opening practice session on Thursday, July 4th, at 2:05 PM (ET). Qualifying will follow on Friday at 4:10 PM (ET).
The Coke Zero Sugar 400 Monster Energy NASCAR Cup Series race is on Saturday, July 6th, and it will be televised live on NBC beginning at 7:30 PM (ET). The Motor Racing Network (MRN) will carry the live radio broadcast, along with SiriusXM NASCAR Radio, channel 90.
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