When Germain Racing last visited the Irish Hills of Michigan two shorts months ago, the group felt slighted when Mother Nature intervened, dumping rain on the area and forcing an early end to the race. After a strong run throughout the event, a frustrated Ty Dillon was left with a 21st place finish.
When they arrived at Michigan International Speedway on Friday, a determined crew unloaded the No. 13 GEICO Camaro ZL1 and readied for practice and qualifying. Dillon was 28th in the opening session, but second practice saw him improve eight spots and finish up 20th on the speed chart. He was quick in qualifying, but in the final few seconds Dillon was bumped out of the top-24 and credited with a 27th place starting position.
Bright sunshine and reasonable summer temperatures welcomed the Monster Energy NASCAR Cup Series to the track on Sunday. Starting 27th, Dillon and his GEICO Camaro ZL1 rolled off of the starting grid looking to claw their way to the front when the green flag got things started. Wasting little time, the young gun hustled his way around the 2-mile oval and gather up four positions in just the opening two laps, putting him in the 23rd position. When the first caution flag of the day flew on lap nine, Dillon shared his optimism with crew chief, Matt Borland, “Happy with our balance here to start with, Matt.”
While Borland kept his eye on the strategy executed flawlessly, Dillon and his GEICO Camaro ZL1 played their part on the racetrack. Dillon had pedaled his way up to 17th by lap 20 and remained on-course for a top-20 finish throughout the afternoon. Things seemed to go the youngster’s way until the final stage of the race offered calamity in the form of debris.
Armed with a fast GEICO machine, Dillon appeared to be almost effortlessly making his way around the high-speed oval when, on lap 133 of 200, he made contact with a fellow competitor’s car battery, which was lying in the middle of the racing surface. While officials in the NASCAR tower would normally catch something of this nature and throw a debris caution, this one apparently slipped by the group. It was an inexplicable error that resulted in Dillon crashing hard into the outside wall at over 200-miles per hour in what he later described as the “hardest hit of my career”.
He would be taken to the Infield Care Center and, as a result of the latest safety innovations in NASCAR racecars, later released unscathed. For their trouble, Dillon and the GEICO team would be sent home with a destroyed racecar and an undeserved 38th place finish.
“I ran over something whether it was a battery or a piece of lead. I saw it, but I had nowhere to go because we were two-wide there,” a disappointed Dillon said. “You can’t really turn your car out of the way quick enough to miss it. I was just hoping it was a glove or something that wouldn’t collect it. As soon as it hit, it was like hitting a wall and I had no control of the car. I just drove it straight at 218-miles per hour into the wall, no brakes, no nothing. So, hopefully, NASCAR finds whose piece that was because that shouldn’t happen in our sport. There shouldn’t be batteries laying on our tracks. Not to tear down, I know a lot of these people have to do a lot to make these cars come to the race track, but things like that can’t happen because it’s too dangerous at a place like this.”
Next up for Germain Racing will be close-quarters racing action at the World’s Fastest Half-Mile for race number 24 of the Monster Energy NASCAR Cup Series season.
Ty Dillon and the No. 13 GEICO Camaro ZL1 will hit the track at Bristol Motor Speedway for the weekend’s opening practice session on Friday, August 17th, at 10:35 AM (ET). Qualifying will follow at 5:40 PM (ET).
The Bass Pro Shops NRA Night Race Monster Energy NASCAR Cup Series race is on Saturday, August 18th, and it will be televised live on NBCSN beginning at 7:30 PM (ET). The Performance Racing Network (PRN) will carry the live radio broadcast, along with SiriusXM NASCAR Radio, channel 90.
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