Fresh off of a third-place finish at Talladega Superspeedway, Ty Dillon and the GEICO team headed just down the road to Charlotte Motor Speedway to do battle on the famed ROVAL. While the road course, itself, provides exciting twists and turns, Mother Nature tossed her hat in the mix and added rain showers to enhance the on-track action.
A year ago, Germain Racing finished 15th at the ROVAL and they continued the upward trend yesterday when Dillon and his No. 13 GEICO Camaro ZL1 1LE posted a dominant Stage 1 victory.
Dillon and his GEICO Chevy started Sunday's Bank of America ROVAL 400 from the 17th position. With rain blanketing the area, the green flag waved and sent the NASCAR Cup Series field 'Rovaling'. Dillon handled the inclement weather without fear and charged forward with fury. Dillon and his GEICO Camaro collected 14 positions in just the opening four laps of the race and took over third place while battling a wet racing circuit.
The crafty veteran was consistently strong and sat in the fifth position when the competition caution slowed the race on lap 11. After being forced to start the race on rain tires, Dillon elected to visit pit road under the yellow to put on traditional slick tires. Being one of only two competitors to do so, Dillon restarted the race from the 22nd position when the race returned to green. Dillon was once again dominant in his assault of the field, effortlessly passing the cars in front of him while hurriedly wheeling his GEICO Camaro around the damp 17-turn, 2.28-mile road course.
Dillon soon worked his way into the top spot and took over as the race's leader, where he would create a nearly seven-second separation over the second-place car. Unfortunately, the caution flag waved with just a few laps remaining in the opening stage, placing Dillon's lead at risk. Despite restarting the race as the leader with the entire field bearing down on him, Dillon never relinquished the lead and pulled away in his GEICO Chevy as he charged to the Stage 1 win. His effort accounts for Germain Racing's third stage win.
Dillon and his No. 13 GEICO Camaro remained strong throughout the race and the Germain Racing pit crew was flawless during pit stops, always returning Dillon promptly to the racing circuit.
The GEICO Camaro continued to run well and Dillon was in the 13th position during the third and final stage of the race when he found himself on the receiving end of contact from a fellow competitor on lap 54. The incident sent him for a spin and resulted in left-side damage, costing Dillon valuable track position. Despite the setback, Dillon and the No. 13 GEICO machine turned their fastest lap of the race just a few laps later, on lap 61. After being shuffled back to the 34th position, the GEICO driver again drove through the field and was in 14th place by lap 73.
Dillon's mission throughout the day was to have a chance to win the race for the second consecutive week. Along those lines, he made a worthy late-race gamble to get to pit road before it closed after the ninth caution flag of the day waved on lap 98. Dillon missed the window by the narrowest of margins and was assessed a commitment line violation. He was running in the top-15, but the penalty sent Dillon to the tail end of the field, which left him in the 31st position.
"We've done a little bit of everything today, but we are going to be alright," Dillon said.
His estimation was correct. When the race returned to green on lap 100 of a scheduled 110, Dillon immediately hopped on the gas of his No. 13 GEICO Chevy and went on a tear through the field with limited time to recover lost real estate. While the setback was significant, he turned heads as he made quick work of the cars in front of him and managed to hustle the GEICO Camaro to a 23rd place finish.
"Well, we got another stage win - our third as a team - which is a huge accomplishment. I'm so very proud of our GEICO team," Dillon said. "Today was another fun day and I had a blast behind the wheel. We didn't finish exactly where we wanted, but we made a bold call there at the end right before that last caution came out to try and make it to pit road before it closed. That ended up costing us some track position, but to finish 23rd with a stage win feels like finishing 13th. It feels fun to win anything. I'm so thankful for everyone at Germain Racing and we will keep chugging along to finish strong."
The 2020 NASCAR Cup Series season continues to wind down and Germain Racing will now make their way to the Sunflower State with just four races left to contest on the schedule.
Ty Dillon and the No. 13 GEICO Camaro ZL1 1LE will hit the track at Kansas Speedway on Sunday, October 18th, for the Hollywood Casino 400. The race will be televised live on NBC beginning at 2:30 PM (ET). The Motor Racing Network (MRN) and SiriusXM NASCAR Radio (channel 90) will carry the live radio broadcast.