Each time the Monster Energy NASCAR Cup Series takes to the track at Charlotte Motor Speedway, Ty Dillon and the GEICO Racing team look to capitalize on their home turf, as the 1.5-mile oval is just a short drive from the Germain Racing headquarters in Mooresville, North Carolina. But, as remnants of Hurricane Nate moved northeast, both practice sessions on Saturday were washed out and NASCAR pushed the start time up an hour on Sunday afternoon in hopes of completing the full 500-miles.
After rolling from the 27th starting position under cloudy, humid skies, Dillon battled a tight condition in the front end of his GEICO Chevrolet during the opening 90-lap stage. Once wedge and air pressure adjustments helped the overall handling, the No. 13 machine came alive and the Sunoco Rookie of the Year contender secured a solid place inside the top-20. While continuing his steady march forward, Dillon took over 15th-place on lap 270 and sustained this position until misfortunate struck with only 13 laps remaining in the race. The right rear tire on the Germain Racing machine went down, forcing Dillon to pit under green for fresh right-side tires.
A late race caution on lap 325 sent the field into overtime to compete in a green-white-checkered finish. Over the final two laps, Dillon gained as many positions to cross the finish line in 21st place.
"My GEICO Chevrolet team worked hard this weekend in Charlotte," said Dillon, after the race. "We didn't unload how we needed to on Friday, and then we didn't get any practice laps in yesterday because of the rain. So, we had to make adjustments on the first few pit stops to get what I needed balance-wise. I felt pretty good late in the race, but I just needed track position. Charlotte is a tricky track and it can be hard to pick up spots. We were really making progress, though. I was 15th when I had to pit for a flat tire with 13 laps to go. It was an unfortunate end to the day. I wish we could have gotten the top-15 finish, but that was out of our control. We have good notes to take home and be ready for next year."
Dillon and the No. 13 GEICO Racing team will now take part in a test session at Martinsville (Va.) Speedway before traveling to Alabama for the final superspeedway race of the 2017 season.
The Monster Energy NASCAR Cup Series will take to Talladega Superspeedway on Friday, October 13th for opening practice at 1:00pm ET, with qualifying scheduled to take place on Saturday, October 14th at 4:15 pm ET.
The green flag will fly for the Alabama 500 at Talladega on Sunday, October 15th at 2:00 pm ET. NBC will carry the live television broadcast, with the Motor Racing Network and Sirius XM NASCAR Radio Channel 90 carrying the live radio broadcast.