Coming off a successful run at Indianapolis just a week ago, Ty Dillon was poised and ready to tackle Pocono Raceway, also known as the Tricky Triangle. With three unique turns, the 2.5-mile track can wreak havoc on many teams throughout a race weekend. During Sunday's Overton's 400, Dillon and his GEICO Racing crew overcame a challenging starting position to run consistently inside the top-25 for the entire 400-mile event, narrowly missing two accidents and bringing home a strong 17th-place finish.
Rolling from 30th place when the green flag started the race, Dillon and the Germain Racing crew were prepared for an uphill climb throughout the 160-lap event, but the team knew perseverance could result in a strong finish. On the opening lap, a multi-car wreck took place immediately in front of the No. 13 GEICO Chevrolet and the rookie used his impressive driving skills to miss the accident. At the halfway mark of Stage One, Dillon reported that the car was "really free, especially in the tunnel turn." Dillon had just gone a lap down when the caution came on lap 50 to complete the opening segment, allowing Crew Chief Bootie Barker to make the call to take the wave-around and return to the lead lap.
Restarting from the 25th position, Dillon once again used heads-up driving to avoid the spinning car of Jimmie Johnson, who wrecked directly in front of the GEICO machine. Barker brought Dillon to pit road on lap 60 for four tires, fuel and a wedge adjustment. In just a short 10 laps, Dillon radioed to his crew that the car was "a lot better now," after that chassis tweak. While running inside the top-20 in the closing laps of Stage Two, some competitors decided to pit, allowing Dillon to move into the 11th position when the caution waved on lap 100.
At the start of the final stage, Dillon took off from the 19th position, armed with four fresh tires, fuel and another wedge adjustment. Within two laps, the 25-year-old gained as many positions to take over 17th-place. By lap 125, green flag pit stops started, moving Dillon into the seventh position when Barker called the No. 13 Chevrolet to pit road. A successful stop by the over-the-wall crew allowed Dillon to pick up a position on pit road and be in contention for a spot right outside of the top-15. Over the final 15 laps, a car with fresher Goodyear rubber passed Dillon, but the Sunoco Rookie of the Year Contender kept the GEICO Chevrolet inside the top-20 to cross the finish line in the 17th position. This effort marks Dillon's 14th top-20 finish of the 2017 season.
"It was a great job today by this Germain Racing team," said Dillon, after the race. "We hit on a wedge adjustment early in Stage Two that really worked for the GEICO Chevrolet. The crew had great pit stops and our race strategies worked. I'm really looking forward to next weekend at Watkins Glen."
The Monster Energy NASCAR Cup Series now heads to New York State for left and right turns at Watkins Glen International. Dillon and his No. 13 GEICO Racing team will take to the road course on Saturday, August 5thfor opening practice at 10:00 am ET, with qualifying scheduled for Sunday, August 6th at 12:05 pm ET.
The green flag will fly for the I Love NY 355 at The Glen on Sunday, August 6th at 3:00 pm ET. NBCSN will carry the live television broadcast, with The Motor Racing Network and Sirius XM NASCAR Radio Channel 90 carrying the live radio broadcast.