As NASCAR descended upon the hills of Tennessee for close-quarters racing action at Bristol Motor Speedway, Germain Racing was anxious to unload their No. 13 GEICO Camaro ZL1. The team has been fast since the opening laps of the 2019 Cup Series season back in February.
Ty Dillon and the GEICO team turned in another strong weekend during their trip to Bristol. Aside from collecting their fourth top-15 finish in the first eight races, the team has also now advanced to the second round of qualifying each week since departing Daytona. Most notably, Dillon and Germain Racing led six laps and collected their first NASCAR Cup Series stage win in Sunday's Food City 500.
Before the race weekend got underway on Friday, Dillon shared his thoughts with the media, which should have served as notice to the Cup Series field as to how the GEICO team would perform. His words would also seem prophetic when the checkered flag waved on Sunday afternoon.
"Bristol Motor Speedway is my favorite racetrack that we go to," Dillon said. "I've been successful running against the wall and making my way to the front, and I've been pretty good running the bottom, as well. Races at Bristol are always great."
On Friday during qualifying, Germain Racing again exhibited the consistency for which they've become known. For the seventh consecutive week, Dillon and his No. 13 GEICO Camaro ZL1 advanced to the second round and, after zipping around the high-banked ½-mile oval in a blistering 14.951-seconds, landed 24th on Sunday's starting grid.
Weather threatened, but never impacted, race day. Dillon and the GEICO Camaro took off from the 24th position when the green flag turned the field loose for 266.5-miles of racing at the World's Fastest Half-Mile.
A track where damaged sheet metal is often accompanied by flaring tempers, Bristol did not fail to deliver when a first lap accident left cars scrambling in order to avoid peril. Dillon incurred heavy contact to the rear of his No. 13 GEICO machine, but, fortunately, damage was restricted to the rear bumper. Confident in car and self, Dillon opted to remain on the racing surface rather than visit pit road to assess the damage, which would result in a loss of track position. The gamble he made on himself paid dividends and the GEICO Camaro was soon inside the top-10 and charging.
A yellow flag slowed the field with only seven laps remaining in the opening stage. Rather than just ride out the laps, Dillon jumped on the gas of his No. 13 GEICO Camaro ZL1 when the race returned to green and charged to the lead. It was 'Go Tyme' during the final three laps of Stage 1 and Dillon beat Clint Bowyer to the line to collect his first NASCAR Cup Series stage win. His effort was rewarded with 10-points and an on-air, in-car interview with the FOX Sports broadcast crew.
Dillon's day continued to go well and he would not depart the top-15. The GEICO pit crew was flawless on pit road, while crew chief, Matt Borland, and his team of engineers kept their pencils sharpened, feeding Dillon important information as he pedaled around the high-speed, half-mile oval. Spotter, Billy O'Dea rarely had time to breathe as he helped Dillon navigate a track full of racecars.
When the checkered flag drew 500-laps of racing to a close, Dillon delivered his No. 13 GEICO Camaro ZL1 across the finish line in the 15th position. The result accounts for Germain Racing's fourth top-15 finish in the season's opening eight races.
"That was huge, to go head-to-head with the top teams and win a stage is huge for GEICO and Germain Racing," a smiling Dillon said after exiting his No. 13 GEICO Camaro ZL1. "That was a really cool moment, something we are really proud of. We are proud of the direction we are going with our race team. We are going to keep getting better for Chevrolet, GEICO and Germain Racing. I'm really proud of how we are doing with our Camaro."
Germain Racing will now head to the ¾-mile oval located in Richmond, VA, for race number nine of the 2019 Monster Energy NASCAR Cup Series season.
Ty Dillon and the No. 13 GEICO Camaro ZL1 will hit the track at Richmond Raceway for the weekend's opening practice session on Friday, April 12th, at 11:05 AM (ET). Qualifying will follow at 5:40 PM (ET).
The Toyota Owners 400 Monster Energy NASCAR Cup Series race is on Saturday, April 13th, and it will be televised live on FOX beginning at 7:30 PM (ET). The Motor Racing Network (MRN) will carry the live radio broadcast, along with SiriusXM NASCAR Radio, channel 90.