After strong runs at Martinsville and Texas, Ty Dillon and the Germain Racing team were dealt a setback a week ago at Bristol after the No. 13 GEICO Camaro ZL1 sustained damage from early contact, leaving them struggling for the balance of the race. When the group arrived at Richmond International Raceway this weekend, which is located just 100-miles from GEICO's corporate office, they had redemption on their mind.
Dillon kicked off the weekend at the ¾-mile facility with two solid practices on Friday, ending up 22nd and 18th in the respective sessions. Unfortunately, qualifying would deliver a frustrating blow later that evening, when the GEICO Camaro ZL1 would be dealt a 31st place starting position.
Bright sunshine watched overhead as the green flag turned the field loose for 400-laps/300-miles of racing on Saturday evening. Dillon and the GEICO Camaro ZL1 rolled off of the starting grid from the 31st position, but quickly gathered up two positions and moved into 29th on the opening lap. Dillon would remain mostly quiet on the radio, save for a few times where he alerted crew chief Matt Borland to handling issues. As the opening stage came to a close, Dillon radioed to the team, "I'm on the splitter off of turn three when I brake. I'm still loose in and lacking drive off, but I'm rolling good through the middle." Borland and company ordered up big changes for the GEICO machine when their driver visited pit road under the caution.
Dillon was busy much of the night while hustling around the ¾-mile oval, as cars often found themselves three-wide in intense racing action. The changes made to the No. 13 Camaro during the stage one break offered improvement, allowing Dillon to pedal the GEICO car into the top-25 early in stage two.
With the 400-lap event winding down, Borland and his GEICO pit crew used strategy and quick pit stops to assist Dillon in his quest to return to the lead lap and reach the front of the field. Their hard work resulted in success and when the checkered flag waved under a dark Richmond sky, Dillon was rewarded with a 20th place, lead lap finish, giving the team momentum as they head into the upcoming GEICO 500 weekend.
"We had a fight on our hands tonight. Our GEICO Camaro ZL1 lacked drive during the first stage, and I was really struggling on entry and exit, but my team made great changes during the stage break to get my balance how I needed it to be," Dillon said following the race. "We were already in a hole at that point, but we kept working at it and were able to gain ground in the second and third stages. By the end, we had played our cards right and were able to use strategy to finish on the lead lap. This was a tough weekend at times, but this team doesn't give up. We rallied from behind to take home a top-20 finish, and I am proud of our whole team's effort tonight. Now it's time to turn our focus to Talladega and the GEICO 500 race weekend."
Germain Racing will now head to Talladega for GEICO's marquis event, the GEICO 500. The team will find the 2.66-mile facility adorned in GEICO's corporate colors, as well as fun, engaging activities for race fans at GEICO's display area, including remote control car racing and an appearance by Ty Dillon on Sunday from 10-10:20 AM local time.
Ty Dillon and the No. 13 GEICO Camaro ZL1 will hit the track at Talladega Superspeedway for the weekend's opening practice session on Friday, April 27th, at 12:35 PM (ET). Qualifying will follow on Saturday at 1:05 PM (ET).
The GEICO 500 Monster Energy NASCAR Cup Series race is on Sunday, April 29th, and it will be televised live on FOX beginning at 2:00 PM (ET). The Motor Racing Network (MRN) will carry the live radio broadcast, along with SiriusXM NASCAR Radio, channel 90.