Rookie Dillon Makes Veteran Moves En Route to Top-10 Duel Finish
The new 2017 Monster Energy NASCAR Cup Series season could not have arrived soon enough for Germain Racing. Armed with young gun, Ty Dillon, the team zipped into Daytona International Speedway and made an immediate impact. The Cup Series rookie looked comfortable in his new No. 13 GEICO Chevrolet SS and without hesitation shot to the top of the board during Sunday's Daytona 500 qualifying session. Dillon advanced to the second round, where he notched a 12th place starting position, leaving him sixth on Thursday's Can-Am Duel number two starting grid.
When the GEICO team took to the starting grid for the first points paying race of the season, the goal was a solid performance and an undamaged racecar, as they head into Sunday's Daytona 500. Dillon aimed to exceed expectations and made his presence known, moving back and forth through the field at will and taking over the fourth position with 30-laps left in the race. Poised to challenge for the lead, Dillon exercised maturity and instinct when avoiding potential peril with 27 laps to go when the No. 5 car of Kasey Kahne had an issue. While he surrendered positions in the process, Dillon quickly collected himself and hustled the GEICO Chevy back to the front of the field where he would remain for the balance of the evening.
When the checkered flag closed out a busy 150-laps of action at the World Center of Racing, Dillon recorded a 10th place finish and, more importantly, scored an ever-critical point in the newly instated Monster Energy NASCAR Cup Series point system. The points awarded in the qualifying races this year are the first awarded in the Duels since 1971 and match the points that will be awarded for each 'stage' win during regular race weekends. In both cases, the top-10 finishers are able to earn points with 10 going to the winner and one going to 10th place.
On Sunday, when the drivers take to the starting grid for the 59th annual running of the Daytona 500, Dillon and his No. 13 GEICO Chevrolet SS will start their day from the 18th position.
"Our GEICO Chevy SS was fast," Dillon said in the garage after the race. "I was able to really relax out there and learn some more about racing at Daytona that I believe will help the team on Sunday. One of our goals for tonight was that we wanted to finish in a points position and we achieved that goal by finishing tenth."
The Daytona 500 Monster Energy NASCAR Cup Series race is on Sunday, February 26th, 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.