Team Preview: Germain Racing
By: Pete Pistone - @PPistone | MRN.com on February 5, 2017 | 9:45 A.M. EST
It’s the start of a new era for Germain Racing with rookie Ty Dillon taking over in 2017. (Photo: GEICO Racing)
It’s the start of a new era for Germain Racing with rookie Ty Dillon taking over in 2017.
Dillon replaces veteran Casey Mears behind the wheel of the Geico No. 13 Chevrolet for the Monster Energy NASCAR Cup season. Dillon has moved up the ladder through the Camping World Truck Series and XFINITY Series and now gets his shot at a full-time ride in NASCAR’s top division.
“I think with a new team and being a rookie driver we have a great group of guys and (crew chief) Bootie Barker is a highly motivated person as everybody knows,” Dillon told Motor Racing Network. “As long as we get better every time we get on the race track we are going to have a shot to definitely go out and win the Rookie of the Year and I think we set our eyes on trying to make the Chase. I think if we do that it’s going to be a very successful season for us.”
For Dillon, grandson of NASCAR Hall of Fame team owner Richard Childress, rising to the top of the NASCAR world has been a goal for most of his life. Dillon started out racing short tracks and dirt late models before graduating up to NASCAR’s top tier and to now have a shot at a full-time Cup ride is literally a dream come true.
“It means a lot, obviously, growing up in this sport and being around all my heroes, who are all Cup drivers, all my whole life, and once I got into Cup racing and knowing this was my goal and where I wanted to be,” he explained. “That moment when the deal was done to be officially be driving for Germain Racing in the GEICO 13 Chevy was surreal. I remember driving down the road and first called my wife and told her it was a done deal and just starting balling on the phone. And I called my mom and balled.
“Just to have this opportunity, I love this sport, and just to have the chance to be one of the top drivers and chase my dream. I know you say I’ve made it, which is obviously a big moment for me in my life, but I still have a lot to accomplish.”
Dillon spent three full seasons in the XFINITY Series and scored one win, coming in his rookie season at Indianapolis in 2014. He went winless the last two campaigns and came up short last year in his bid for the championship.
Although he’ll run the full Cup schedule for Germain this year, Dillon plans to also have a presence in the NXS division, which he believes will help further his development.
“In my heart I feel like I’m the best driver,” he said. “If I didn’t have that kind of confidence, I wouldn’t be driving a race car. I knew I was ready for this opportunity and I’ve proved in different situations. The wins weren’t what we wanted in the XFINITY Series the past couple of years, but we were growing as a team and changing as a team at RCR.
“We will win XFINITY races this year; I can guarantee you that. We have a lot of great things going on, a lot of great momentum with that side of the program. To answer the first part of the question, I’m going to be running 20 XFINITY races this year, so a pretty hefty schedule on that side, too. I think there are only six I can’t do.”
Dillon has made 18 Cup starts throughout the course of his career so does bring experience to Germain. The team will once again have an alliance with RCR and even though it is technically a single car effort, Dillon knows the benefits of being partnered with a larger organization.
“It’s definitely going to be different,” he said. “Growing up being around a multi-car team and program my whole life, you kind of learn the ins and outs of how that works. But I feel it’s going to be the best of both worlds for me because we are strongly connected with RCR Racing through a technical alliance, so we’ll still have that multi-car feel but also be able to separate ourselves and be Germain Racing – the one 13 team – so it will be nice to have a little bit of our own identity and me to have my own identity, too.
“I just think it will help the growth of both programs – myself and the team.”
Daytona International Speedway will open for NASCAR teams on Friday, Feb. 17, with the season-opening Daytona 500 scheduled for Sunday, Feb. 26. Motor Racing Network - "The Voice of NASCAR" will have live coverage of "The Great American Race" beginning at 1 p.m. (ET), with live streaming at MRN.com and on the MRN App.
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