While the GEICO team has had a strong year, they've been forced to overcome issues the last two weeks en route to solid finishes. Earning the nickname of the 'comeback kid', Ty Dillon defeated a late-race tire issue a week ago at Kansas to finish 22nd before overcoming crash damage yesterday at Martinsville to score a 24th place finish. The resilience of Germain Racing is indicative of the organization's growth since crew chief, Matt Borland, arrived on the team's campus a year ago.
After posting the 11th fastest time in final practice, Dillon and the GEICO team were certain they had a fast racecar. With 500-laps in the advertised distance of the race, they felt confident that they would find their way to the top-10.
While rain threatened Martinsville Speedway on Sunday morning, it never impacted the start of the First Data 500. When the green flag set the field underway at the paperclip-shaped half-mile facility, Dillon and his No. 13 GEICO Camaro ZL1 started their journey from the 27th position.
Dillon made gradual progress through the field and broke into the top-25 in the opening laps.
Dillon worked his way into the top-20, where he set up camp until misfortune struck on lap 179. He was door-to-door with a fellow driver who made heavy contact with the GEICO Camaro and sent it into a 360-degree spin in the middle of the racetrack. Dillon made his way to pit road, where the Germain Racing crew worked efficiently to make repairs.
While he was a few laps down to the field, Borland and his band of engineers put their heads together in an effort a create a strategy that would help Dillon regain lost real estate. Their efforts paid dividends and, despite pedaling a damaged racecar, Dillon was able to hustle back to a 24th place finish and salvage an otherwise frustrating day.
"I'm proud of everyone on my GEICO team for never giving up today. We always look forward to coming to the short tracks and after getting our Camaro ZL1 handling well in practice, we felt we had a good shot at a top-10, top-15 finish," Dillon said. "Unfortunately, the contact and spin before halfway definitely put us behind, but we all kept our heads down and worked to make the best out of the day. I was able to miss the other wrecks that happened during the final stage, but being trapped on a lap by myself stopped us from being able to gain more positions. While the result wasn't what we wanted, we will learn what we can for next season and move on to Texas."
Germain Racing will now make their way to the Lone Star State for race number 34 on the 2019 NASCAR Cup Series schedule.
Ty Dillon and the No. 13 GEICO Military Camaro ZL1 will hit the track at Texas Motor Speedway for the weekend's opening practice session on Friday, November 1st, at 3:05 PM (ET). Qualifying will follow on Saturday at 7:05 PM (ET).
The Texas 500 Monster Energy NASCAR Cup Series race is on Sunday, November 3rd, and it will be televised live on NBCSN beginning at 3 PM (ET). The Performance Racing Network (PRN) will carry the live radio broadcast, along with SiriusXM NASCAR Radio, channel 90.