Dillon and Borland would communicate often about the pit strategy as the laps clicked off. Tightly adhering to their plan, the GEICO driver remained on the track as fellow drivers began visiting pit road. Despite brushing the wall a third of the way through the event's first stage, Dillon continued to gain positions as he pedaled his way around the mile and a half oval.
Ty Dillion and GEICO Team Cruise Out of Kansas with Top-25 Finish
A week removed from a top-15 finish in the warm southern weather of Talladega, Alabama, Germain Racing and Ty Dillon unloaded their No. 13 GEICO Camaro ZL1 at Kansas Speedway, where much cooler temperatures prevailed. Despite the disparity in climate, the team's mission remained the same; to finish the 2018 Monster Energy NASCAR Cup Series season on a strong note.
After qualifying 30th, Dillon and his crew chief, Matt Borland, arrived on Sunday's starting grid armed with an aggressive strategy. As the NASCAR Cup Series field departed pit road for the 1.5-mile oval of Kansas Speedway, Dillon keyed his microphone and shared his thoughts with the GEICO Racing crew: "Let's have a solid day, boys. Do your thing in the pits and I'll do my job out here and we'll get ourselves a good finish."
Bright sunshine accompanied temperatures that hovered in the low 50's when the green flag signaled the start of the Hollywood Casino 400 on Sunday afternoon. Beginning the day from the 30th position, Dillon made immediate progress, collecting four spots and moving the No. 13 GEICO Camaro ZL1 up to the 26th position in the opening laps.
Dillon had hustled his way into the top-10 by lap 44. Moments prior to bringing the GEICO Camaro ZL1 to pit road on lap 57 for a scheduled green flag stop, lady luck dealt Dillon desired cards when the day's first caution flag slowed the field, allowing him to bring his No. 13 entry to the attention of the Germain Racing pit crew without the risk of surrendering valuable real estate. "We've got a little luck on our side today, boys. We will get this thing turned around," Dillon said over the team's radio frequency. "After I touched the wall, the car got extremely loose."
Under the yellow flag, Dillon brought the No. 13 GEICO Camaro ZL1 to the attention of the Germain Racing pit crew, who quickly provided him with four fresh tires, a full tank of fuel and a chassis adjustment. The stop was extended for a few seconds as the crew worked to repair the minor body damage derived from the earlier brush with the wall. Given the additional time needed to make repairs, Dillon and his GEICO machine restarted the race from the 22nd position when the green flag gave way to racing on lap 65.
Dillon would maintain his position in the top-25 for the balance of the 267-lap event. When the checkered flag brought the field to a halt after 400-miles of racing, the No. 13 GEICO Camaro ZL1 crossed the finish line in the 25th position, resulting in Germain Racing's 19th top-25 finish of the 2018 NASCAR Cup Series season.
"This was a benchmark race for our GEICO Camaro ZL1 team," Dillon said after the race. "We didn't have the performance that we wanted here at Kansas Speedway back in the spring. Our cars have evolved a lot since then, and we've been working hard on our intermediate program. We came back here this weekend wanting to show improvements from where we were in May, and we did that. There's still more work to be done, but little gains will become big gains as this team keeps grinding. We have four more races left this season, and we are working as hard as we can to get everything out of them."
Next week, Germain Racing will stay closer to home when they make the short drive to Martinsville, VA, where a paperclip-shaped, half-mile racetrack awaits their arrival for race number 33 of the 2018 NASCAR Cup Series season.
Ty Dillon and the No. 13 GEICO Camaro ZL1 will hit the track at Martinsville Speedway for the weekend's opening practice session on Saturday, October 27th, at 9 AM (ET). Qualifying will follow at 4:05 PM (ET).
The First Data 500 Monster Energy NASCAR Cup Series race is on Sunday, October 28th, and it will be televised live on NBCSN beginning at 2:30 PM (ET). The Motor Racing Network (MRN) will carry the live radio broadcast, along with SiriusXM NASCAR Radio, channel 90.
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