Fresh off of a weekend of welcomed relaxation, Germain Racing and Ty Dillon rolled into the Lone Star State with a pocket full of speed and a restless No. 13 GEICO Camaro ZL1. Over the last couple of Monster Energy NASCAR Cup Series races, the team has made incremental progress and a successful weekend at the mile and a half track located in Fort Worth, TX, would be proof-positive that their hard work was generating the desired result. While the organization's struggles at intermediate facilities are well documented, the GEICO team took the bull by the horns in Texas over the weekend and righted the course with a top-15 finish.
Dillon's 25th position on the board in the first two practice sessions was deceptive, as the young gun spent much of his time in the top-10 and top-15. The GEICO driver felt confident from the onset and would later post the 16th fastest time in the weekend's final practice on Saturday afternoon.
In qualifying on Friday, Dillon and the GEICO Camaro ZL1 advanced to the second round, but NASCAR would cancel the session prior to its completion due to severe weather. He would be forced to start Sunday's race from the 23rd position. An excited Dillon communicated to the team, "This is the best Friday that we've had in awhile. We continue to make strides in the right direction."
Overcast skies and cool temperatures awaited the Cup Series field as the drivers took to the starting grid on Sunday afternoon. Dillon climbed into his No. 13 GEICO Camaro ZL1 in anticipation of 334-laps of racing and began his journey from the 23rd position, just in front of Jamie McMurray and Ryan Newman. The racing action heated up an otherwise cold day just three laps after the green flag signaled the start of the race, as a spinning Alex Bowman sent a host of cars, including Dillon, down pit road in order to avoid contact. While Dillon avoided the larger incident, he received rear-end damage from Newman as they scurried to avoid the scuffle. Damage to the rear can often impact the aerodynamics of a racecar, but that was lost on Dillon, who betrayed any potential setback by continuing to throttle full-speed around the fast mile and a half track, charging his way to the front of the field.
Dillon hustled the GEICO Camaro ZL1 into the top-15 as the close of stage two approached. The Germain Racing pit crew was near-flawless on pit road, keeping their driver in contention during each stop, never causing him to lose positions. The collective effort would be rewarded when Dillon crossed the finish line in the 13th position and handed the GEICO team their best finish of the young 2018 NASCAR Cup Series season. Smiles were abound, as the organization begins to turn the tide on a challenging start to the year.
"There's no doubt that this team has been working hard. The past two races have been our strongest of the year, and this weekend we had one of our best Fridays that we have had in a while," Dillon said after the race. "Our GEICO Camaro ZL1 didn't have quite the speed that the leaders did, but I was able to set a good pace and hold my position. I lost some track position at the very start of the race when the car was building tight on exit, but my crew chief (Matt Borland) made great adjustments to get us back on track and ultimately bring home a top-15 finish. We have been grinding week after week, and the hard work is paying off with our best finish of the year. This team is only going to keep getting stronger and scoring solid finishes."
Germain Racing will now make the short journey to Bristol, TN, where they will do battle at the 'World's Fastest Half-Mile'.
Ty Dillon and the No. 13 GEICO Camaro ZL1 will hit the track at Bristol Motor Speedway for the weekend's opening practice session on Friday, April 13th, at noon (ET). Qualifying will follow at 4:45 PM (ET).
The Food City 500 Monster Energy NASCAR Cup Series race is on Sunday, April 15th, and it will be televised live on FOX beginning at 2 PM (ET). The Performance Racing Network (PRN) will carry the live radio broadcast, along with SiriusXM NASCAR Radio, channel 90.