Bob Germain

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Ty Dillon moving up to Cup, replaces Casey Mears

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Ty Dillon will drive the No. 13 Cup car for Germain Racing in 2017, replacing Casey Mears, the team announced Monday.

The move had been expected for several weeks.

Along with the driver change, Germain’s partnership with Richard Childress Racing will expand. RCR’s partnership includes technology sharing, research and development and engineering. Germain Racing also will continue to use ECR Engines.

Dillon, the 24-year-old grandson of Richard Childress, has 17 career Cup starts. He finished a career-high sixth at Talladega in May 2016 while driving for Tony Stewart, who was out with a back injury. Dillon finished fifth in the points in the Xfinity Series this past season.

“I have been preparing for this next step in my career for several years,” Dillon said in a statement from the team. “With my experience in the Camping World Truck Series and Xfinity Series, I am ready to drive full-time in the Sprint Cup Series. I want to thank Bob Germain and the entire Germain Racing organization for giving me this opportunity. It will be an honor to represent a brand and sponsor like GEICO which has played such a significant role in the sport for so many years.”

Said Germain in a statement: “First of all, I want to thank Casey Mears for everything he’s done for our race team over the past six years. He’s been an integral part of our growth and a great representative for GEICO and our many partners. Bringing Ty onboard is an exciting opportunity for us and we are committed to giving him all the resources he needs to reach his full potential. He’s a very talented driver and first class young man. I’m looking forward to working with him, as well as expanding our relationship with RCR.”

In six seasons with Germain Racing, Mears had one top-five finish and five top-10 finishes. His best finish in the points with the team was 23rd in 2015. Germain Racing announced Nov. 12, 2015, that it had signed three-year contract extensions with Mears and GEICO.