When Ty Dillon and the GEICO team arrived in Las Vegas, they were hoping to have Lady Luck on their side when things got underway at the 1.5-mile speedway located just outside of town. Dillon and company struggled in the opening practice session and qualifying, but rebounded quickly on Saturday and posted the 15th fastest time, and seventh best 10-lap average in the day's opening practice session.
After two days of heavy winds, which included gusts of up to 40-mph, Sunday gave way to perfect weather conditions of bright sunshine and only a mild breeze as Dillon and Germain Racing took to the Pennzoil 400 starting grid. The group would begin their journey from the 31st position, but when the green flag turned the field loose in front of grandstands packed with racing fans, Dillon pedaled his No. 13 GEICO Camaro ZL1 forward, gaining four positions in the opening laps and eyeing the top-25 by lap 13.
Dillon found himself at odds with his GEICO Camaro ZL1, so crew chief Matt Borland and the Germain Racing pit crew worked tirelessly to make adjustments during pit stops in order to improve the handling. Their efforts paid off and, as the third and final stage got underway, Dillon enthusiastically reported, "We've got a car we can race now." An unrelenting Dillon continued to race hard and gather positions. Unfortunately, with just 20-laps remaining in the race's advertised distance, Dillon was made aware of a hole in the nose of his GEICO machine. Given that a late-race, unscheduled green flag pit stop would prove futile, the young gun continued to battle fiercely in the closing laps. Despite the setback, Dillon managed to score a 24th place finish when the checkered flag closed out 267-laps and 400.5-miles of racing action.
"It took us a while to find a balance that worked for our GEICO Camaro ZL1 today. The dynamic of the car just changed so much from practice to the race," Dillon said in the garage after climbing from his racecar. "We finally got it to where it needed to be and were the best we had been all day at the start of the final stage. My boys were fast on pit road, didn't make any mistakes. We just have to find our speed from the beginning of the race. We will keep our heads up and keep digging. The last race in Phoenix was one of our best of the year, and we'll be ready for them next week."
NASCAR's west coast swing continues with Germain Racing packing up driver and car and heading to Phoenix, AZ, for race number four of the 2018 Cup Series season. During the team's previous visit to the facility in November 2017, Dillon recorded an 11th place finish.
Ty Dillon and the No. 13 GEICO Camaro ZL1 will hit the track at ISM Raceway for the weekend's opening practice session on Friday, March 9th, at 12:35 PM (ET). Qualifying will follow at 5:15 PM (ET).
The TicketGuardian 500 Monster Energy NASCAR Cup Series race is on Sunday, March 11th, and it will be televised live on FOX beginning at 3:30 PM (ET). The Motor Racing Network (MRN) will carry the live radio broadcast, along with SiriusXM NASCAR Radio, channel 90.