With just two races remaining on the 2019 Monster Energy NASCAR Cup Series schedule, Ty Dillon and the GEICO Military team aimed to continue their run of strong finishes. Momentum has favored Germain Racing and it would not depart them during their visit to Phoenix, AZ, over the weekend. Having completed 99.7% of the laps raced at ISM Raceway, the 27-year old Dillon eagerly anticipated the weekend ahead.
In honor of Veterans Day, Dillon would carry the Geckoflauge-themed GEICO Military livery in salute to America's veterans and their families. This tribute would also include the names of 87 Germain Racing family members, along with five current team members, who have served in the United States military, appearing on the decklid of the racecar.
An inspired Dillon arrived in the garage at ISM Raceway looking to honor those who have served our country. While the group faced challenges in practice, and later in qualifying, the GEICO Military team entered race day with a strategy to move through the field at a track where passing is nearly non-existent. To do so would require the sharpened pencil of crew chief, Matt Borland, efficient pit stops during the race and a fiercely driven, Ty Dillon. This trio would come together as race day got underway on Sunday.
When the green flag set the field underway for 312-laps of racing, Dillon and his No. 13 GEICO Military Camaro ZL1 began their journey from the 29th position. While much was made of the lack of passing at ISM Raceway, Dillon paid little attention and rather focused on hurriedly making his way around the one-mile oval. His efforts were rewarded when he garnered an attention-grabbing six positions in the opening ten-laps and found himself in 23rd place.
Dillon and his No. 13 GEICO Military Camaro ZL1 broke into the top-20 on lap 73 and took up residence there for the balance of the day. Borland and the Germain Racing pit crew were resolute in their efforts on pit road, while Dillon reciprocated on the racing surface. The coordinated attack netted a 20th place finish and the GEICO Military team's 16th top-20 result of the 2019 NASCAR Cup Series season. While it was well-documented that passing was at a premium on Sunday, Dillon instead netted a nine-position improvement by the conclusion of the Bluegreen Vacations 500.
"After our qualifying effort, we knew we needed to gain as many positions as we could, as quickly as we could. Not putting ourselves out of contention in the first stage was key and we were able to do that," Dillon said after climbing from his car. "With the lack of cautions and the passing being so difficult at this track though, it presented a challenge at times. My GEICO Military Camaro ZL1 was just too loose for parts of the race, but every chance that Matt (Borland, crew chief) had to make adjustments, we took steps in the right direction. This Germain Racing team continues to work hard each week to get the best finish possible. I'm looking forward to getting to Homestead and finishing out the season strong."
With regard to Veterans Day, Dillon lit up at the opportunity to discuss the holiday and its meaning to him and the Germain Racing organization.
"It was an honor to carry the GEICO Military paint scheme and have the names of 87 veterans on our car today. To have the veteran family members of our Germain Racing team members listed, including five of our current employees, is such a cool tribute to the sacrifices they, and all veterans, have made in their lives. We wouldn't be able to race each week if our servicemen and women weren't protecting our freedom. Those men and women are the true heroes and I was proud to have them riding on our decklid."
The season finale now awaits Germain Racing in Homestead, FL. Race number 36 will cap off a successful season that has seen the GEICO team remain competitive and strong throughout the entire year.
Ty Dillon and the No. 13 GEICO Camaro ZL1 will hit the track at Homestead-Miami Speedway for the weekend's opening practice session on Friday, November 15th, at 3:35 PM (ET). Qualifying will follow on Saturday at 2:05 PM (ET).
The Ford EcoBoost 400 Monster Energy NASCAR Cup Series race is on Sunday, November 17th, and it will be televised live on NBC beginning at 3 PM (ET). The Motor Racing Network (MRN) will carry the live radio broadcast, along with SiriusXM NASCAR Radio, channel 90.