2017 NASCAR Team Recap: Germain Racing

(Photo: Nigel Kinrade/NKP)

By Aaron Bearden, Motorsports Editor

For the final five days of 2017, Kickin’ the Tires will recap each of the top 10 teams in the 2017 Monster Energy NASCAR Cup Series standings, laying out their year in statistics and storylines. 

The Breakdown

Wins: Zero

Playoff Berths: Zero

Highest Points Finisher: 24th

Driver Results:

  • Ty Dillon (24th in Points – Zero wins, Zero top fives, Zero top 10s, 40 laps led, Three DNFs)

When Germain Racing arrived at Daytona International Speedway to start the 2017 season, they did so prepared for a year of change and new beginnings.

After spending seven years with veteran Casey Mears, team owner Bob Germain went in a different direction for 2017. He turned to Ty Dillon, grandson of Richard Childress, to pilot the team’s No. 13 in his rookie Monster Energy NASCAR Cup Series season.

The pairing strengthened the relationship between Childress and Germain, who are a technical partner of Richard Childress Racing. It also led the younger Dillon to join brother Austin Dillon in the Cup Series, meaning the duo would become the second pairs of brothers currently traveling in NASCAR’s premier series each weekend, joining Kurt and Kyle Busch.

At first the move seemed suspect. Mears was considered to be among the best drivers piloting cars for underfunded teams, and the former Hendrick Motorsports wheelman had carried Germain Racing from 29th in the standings in their first full season (2011) to a fringe top 20 team from 2013 through 2015, with finishes of 24th, 26th and 23rd, respectively.

But the team was coming off of a dismal 2016 campaign, and Dillon quickly proved in 2017 that the move could pay dividends.

After crashing out of the season-opening Daytona 500, Dillon became a consistent presence in the top half of the field. The North Carolinian was unable to make his way into the top 10, but he constantly found himself battling inside of the top 20.

His first top 15 for the team came in just his second start with them at Atlanta Motor Speedway, where he finished 15th. By the time his brother Austin celebrated his first-career Cup Series win at Charlotte Motor Speedway in May, Ty had managed seven top-20 finishes.

The following week at Dover International Speedway showed promise for Dillon. Pit strategy elevated the 25-year-old into the race lead for 27 laps, and he appeared poised to contend for a top five with the laps winding down before contact with pseudo-teammate Ryan Newman sent the rookie into the wall and out of contention.

Dillon would again find himself in the picture a few weeks later at Daytona, when he survived the mid-race bedlam to position himself as one of the few remaining cars battling for a race win in the closing laps. He led seven circuits and battled to the finish, but was cycled out of line on the final run to the checkered flag and relegated to a 16th-place finish.

Unfortunately for Dillon, no additional opportunities for a win arrived. But the rookie continued his run as a top 20 contender through the second half of the season.

While the 10-race playoffs saw his worst stretch of the year – with seven finishes outside of the top 20 – Dillon also scored and equaled his year-best finish of 11th at Talladega Superspeedway and Phoenix Raceway.

When the checkered flag flew to end the season at Homestead-Miami Speedway, Dillon was left with a 24th-place finish in the standings. While their year was far from perfect, Germain Racing was left with cause for optimism after Dillon tallied a team best 20.7 average finish and 20 lead-lap finishes.

Moving forward, Germain will again return to consistency.

Dillon and sponsor GEICO will be back in 2018 after signing multiyear agreements to return to the team. The biggest change will come atop the pit box, as veteran signal caller Matt Borland joins the organization to serve as Dillon’s crew chief for the upcoming season. He replaces Robert “Bootie” Barker, who parted ways with the team at the end of 2017.

Team Recaps: 

Germain Racing (Dec. 27)

Roush Fenway Racing (Dec. 27)

Richard Childress Racing (Dec. 28)

Wood Brothers Racing (Dec. 28)

Chip Ganassi Racing (Dec. 29)

Hendrick Motorsports (Dec. 29)

Team Penske (Dec. 30)

Stewart-Haas Racing (Dec. 30)

Joe Gibbs Racing (Dec. 31)

Furniture Row Racing (Dec. 31)

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