RACE REPORT: Darlington Raceway
Ty Dillon and Germain Racing were off to a fast start in the 2020 NASCAR Cup Series season, posting a top-10 finish at Las Vegas and a top-15 at Phoenix in just the first four races of the year, a notable achievement in racing's most challenging series. Then, the severe impact of a pandemic put the sport on hold and resulted in a 71-day pause in action. That changed today at Darlington Raceway when Dillon again strapped into his No. 13 GEICO Camaro ZL1 1LE to restart the year.
With major changes in place, the NASCAR Cup Series returned to action at the track affectionately known as 'Too Tough to Tame' today. Among these changes were the elimination of both practice and qualifying, leaving Dillon and his counterparts to take the green flag at one of NASCAR's most challenging tracks without even a single lap of practice. Also, each team was allotted just 16 personnel, inclusive of the driver, spotter, truck driver and pit crew, leaving a limited number of folks to tend to the race car. A random qualifying draw would be responsible for Dillon starting the race from the 33rd position.
The race was appropriately named 'The Real Heroes 400' and each driver carried the name of a frontline healthcare worker in place of their own above the driver window. Dr. Aamir Latif rode along with Dillon on his No. 13 GEICO Camaro. Dr. Latif is a frontline Intensive Care Unit doctor in the Washington, D.C., metropolitan area. Both He and his wife have participated in medical missions in Haiti and are now making tremendous sacrifices to support their community during the COVID-19 pandemic.
When the green flag signaled the restart of the 2020 season, and the beginning of the The Real Heroes 400, Dillon and his GEICO Camaro made immediate progress and soon broke into the top-25. He would battle handling issues, but crew chief, Matt Borland, and the Germain Racing pit crew made necessary adjustments as the race wore on, which assisted their driver in maintaining his position on the racing surface. Dillon and his No. 13 GEICO Camaro ran solidly in the top-20 throughout the afternoon, while the pit crew executed flawlessly on pit road.
The day went off without a hitch and when the checkered flag flew after 293-laps of racing, Dillon hustled his GEICO Camaro across the finish line in the 19th position, picking up where he left off with another solid result. This marks Germain Racing's third top-20 finish in the season's first five-races.
"My Germain Racing guys did a good job today and prepared a solid race car to bring here to Darlington. It's not easy to just unload and have your first lap on the track be the first lap of the race, but it is a pure testament to their hard work at the shop," Dillon said after the race. "Our GEICO Camaro ZL1 1LE was way too tight for two-thirds of the race, but Matt (Borland) and I kept working on it to make the handling pretty good by the end. We, as a team, worked through the frustration in the beginning and kept building on it. I'm happy to get a top-20 finish to kick off this stretch and now we will look forward to Wednesday night."
With the newly adjusted schedule, Germain Racing will make a return trip to dance with the 'Lady in Black' for race number six of the 2020 NASCAR Cup Series season.
Ty Dillon and the No. 13 GEICO Camaro ZL1 1LE will again hit the track at Darlington Raceway on Wednesday, May 20th. The race will be televised live on FS1 beginning at 7:30 PM (ET). The Motor Racing Network (MRN) will carry the live radio broadcast, along with SiriusXM NASCAR Radio, channel 90.