Fresh off of a Dover performance that saw Ty Dillon and his Gecko-adorned Chevrolet lead the field for 27 laps late in the race, the youngster arrived in Long Pond, PA, looking to maintain the momentum he's built this season. Germain Racing hit the track on Friday for Monster Energy NASCAR Cup Series practice and qualifying, but kept the race top of mind as they navigated their processes.
While Dillon would qualify 27th and fall just short of making the cut to advance to the second round, the GEICO team remained focused on the 400-miles of racing that would take place on Sunday. Through Saturday's final practice session, the team exercised many scenarios that would come into play, including runs where Dillon would practice saving fuel. Their preparation would reap rewards as the team took to the Tricky Triangle on Sunday.
Starting 27th, Dillon and his GEICO Chevy wasted little time making progress when the green flag set the field underway in front of a near-capacity crowd at Pocono Raceway on Sunday afternoon. Before the Sunoco Rookie of the Year candidate completed a single lap, he had collected three positions and appeared to settle in for a long afternoon of racing. 400-miles of racing left Dillon and crew chief, Bootie Barker, with plenty of time to talk strategy, as other teams began developing their own, pitting as early as lap 14. With many strategies playing out as the day wore on, Dillon was able to hustle the No. 13 GEICO Chevrolet as high as the second position, while also running solidly in the top-five.
The final caution flag of the day slowed the field on lap 141 of a scheduled 160. The Germain Racing pit crew quickly outfitted the No. 13 GEICO Chevy with four fresh tires and fuel before returning Dillon to the racing surface in the 23rd position when the event returned to green on lap 147. In the closing laps, Dillon was able to gather up five spots and cross the finish line in the 18th position, accounting for Germain Racing's ninth top-20 finish in the first 14-races of the 2017 Cup Series season. Dillon sits in the 22nd position in the driver point standings, sandwiched between Hendrick Motorsports drivers Kasey Kahne (21st) and Dale Earnhardt, Jr. (23rd).
"There was so much strategy in today's race at Pocono," Dillon said after the race. "In the first stage, we worked to get our No. 13 GEICO Chevy dialed in. Once we got close to what we needed, we started playing with a strategy to make up track position in the final two stages. It's so important at this track, but so hard to get once the field spreads out. It worked how we needed it to, and our car really started to come around there at the end. I took off on that last restart and picked off a couple other cars in the short amount of time that I had. Now I'll focus on our plan for Michigan next weekend."
Next up for Germain Racing is a visit to the Irish Hills of Michigan.
Ty Dillon and the No. 13 Twisted Tea Chevrolet SS will hit the track at Michigan International Speedway for the weekend's opening practice session on Friday, June 16th, at 11:00 AM (ET). Qualifying will follow at 4:15 PM (ET).
The FireKeepers Casino 400 Monster Energy NASCAR Cup Series race is on Sunday, June 18th, and it will be televised live on FS1 beginning at 3:00 PM (ET). The Motor Racing Network (MRN) will carry the live radio broadcast, along with SiriusXM NASCAR Radio, channel 90.