Ty Dillon and the GEICO team have started the 2020 NASCAR Cup Series season in strong fashion, turning in a top-10 and top-15 finish in just their first four starts. The Germain Racing team got back on-track over the weekend in an event that offered excitement and laughter for race fans.
On Sunday, the No. 13 GEICO Camaro ZL1 1LE took to the track in a different manner, as Dillon participated in the first-ever eNASCAR iRacing Pro Invitational Series race at virtual Homestead-Miami Speedway. The 100-lap event pitted 35 NASCAR drivers against each other in the famed iRacing series and offered fans and drivers alike the opportunity to get back to racing. The race was televised live on FS1 with Jeff Gordon and Mike Joy handling the broadcast duties, while Dillon allowed fans access through his Instagram Live feed.
Armed with a full, GEICO-adorned pit crew, Dillon hoped to avoid the almost guaranteed on-track chaos and put the GEICO Camaro in a position to score a strong finish. Motor Racing Outreach Chaplain, Billy Mauldin, offered the invocation, which was followed by the National Anthem by Curb Records recording artist, Dylan Scott.
The virtual Homestead-Miami Speedway appeared as lifelike as the real one when the drivers rolled off of pit road and took the green flag.
After sustaining damage in an incident early in the race, Dillon was forced to use both of his allotted resets to restore his GEICO machine to full racing form. He immediately opted to drop to the rear of the field in an attempt to escape any crashes that could put him out of the event. Dillon's strategy paid off and, after narrowly avoiding an Alex Bowman crash on lap 69, he was able to hustle the No. 13 GEICO Camaro ZL1 1LE to a 19th place finish.
"The race was so much fun with the No. 13 GEICO Camaro. I ended up tracking down my old rig that I used back in my ARCA Racing days and had two nights of practice on Friday and Saturday," Dillon said. "The race itself was actually my first official iRace in general. I had used this simulator before with a different game over a decade ago, but it was my first time doing legitimate iRacing."
He continued, "I was extremely nervous, actually more nervous than I am for the Daytona 500. I am confident when I get into the real GEICO Camaro because I know what I'm doing. But in the iRacing simulator, I have zero idea what I'm doing, which is why I'm pretty satisfied with the 19th-place finish. I'm very proud of NASCAR, iRacing and my fellow drivers for all coming together to make this a success."