BAKERSFIELD, California (August 28, 2014) – – NASCAR Next driver Dylan Lupton (@LuptonDylan) has been close to capturing the checkered flag on several occasions this season on the NASCAR K&N Pro Series West (NKNPSW) tour, but his second career victory has continued to elude him.
But, by the end of Saturday night’s Bakersfield 150 at Kern County (Calif.) Raceway Park, Lupton doesn’t want to be wondering or thinking about “what if.” Instead, he wants to raise the trophy with his Sunrise Ford Racing team alongside his No. 9 Sunrise Ford / Go Pro / Lucas Oil Ford Fusion.
And if his performance in May’s edition of the Armed Forces 150 is any indication, Lupton only needs to finish one spot better to earn him a trip back to Victory Lane in his 26th career start for car owner Bob Bruncati.
“We’re getting so close we can taste it,” said Lupton on the anticipation of winning again. “I can’t say enough about this Sunrise Ford Racing team and the endless efforts that they give me to succeed in the NASCAR K&N Pro Series West. I thought we had the win wrapped up at Evergreen, but we just didn’t make it back to the checkered flag first.”
Lupton dominated the NAPA Auto Parts / Toyota 150, leading a race high 73 laps and was leading the field on the white flag circuit, until another competitor shoved him out of the racing groove coming to the finish line, knocking him down to a third place run.
“Evergreen was a great race weekend for us,” added Lupton. “That is all up to the last corner. We had such a great race car and were able to drive to the front and lead the last 70 laps or so. However, (David) Mayhew was able to get to our bumper going in to Turn 3 and he pushed me up the race groove and I lost two positions. It was definitely a disappointment, but we will just have to look at the positives and not make the same mistake twice.”
Looking ahead to Kern County (Calif.) Raceway Park this weekend, Lupton and his team plan to use a similar setup that allowed the 20-year old to record one of his six top-five finishes this season. Three months ago, Lupton maneuvered from his fifth place starting spot to contend for the win, before eventually settling for the first of his two runner-up efforts this season.
“The team and myself included are all very excited to get back to Kern,” Lupton spoke. “Earlier this year we put together a good performance and I believe we have everything it takes to win this race.
“We are taking the same car with a similar setup that we had earlier this year. However, to win this race I believe we will need to free up the car to run lower on the track, when the right time comes. We made a few adjustments to the race, so it should be better. We will take the same approach to this weekend as we did in Evergreen, get to the front, lead – but this time get the win.”
If it seems that Lupton and his team have put a lot of emphasis on winning, you would be right. For Lupton, there’s not a greater feeling than winning.
“I am very lucky to be a part of such a great team, series and represent a lot of superb companies,” Lupton sounded. “But winning is what we’re here to do. We want to win. They (the team) wants to win and our sponsors want to see us in Victory Lane, we know it’s going to happen, we’ve almost done it, but it’s time to make it happen.”
But in his quest to win, Lupton and his team still have their sights on a potential championship. Sitting just 25 points behind veteran Greg Pursley for the top spot and only four races remaining, every point counts.
“I am still gunning for this championship,” he said. “We have four races left, and every race from here on out is more important than ever. I need to go out and win these next few weeks to make sure I can get the maximum amount of points to close that gap up.”
If winning races while trying to earn a championship isn’t enough for the Wilton, California native, he’s also recently returned to college at the University of North Carolina Charlotte, where’s he pursuing a business degree in his junior year. Juggling school and racing has already proven to be no easy task, but Lupton wouldn’t have it any other way.
“With school starting back up again, it adds an extra challenge to my already busy schedule,” Lupton said. “However, I am not going to let that affect my performance on the track. Monday – Wednesday I am at school and working on logistics for my racing program for next year. However, when I get to the track I am 100% focused on racing.”
In addition to Sunrise Ford, Go Pro and Lucas Oil, Eibach Springs, Immersion Media, Capitl and Company will adorn their logos on his Ford Fusion this weekend in California.
Entering Bakersfield, Lupton has 28 NASCAR K&N Pro Series West starts to his credit with one career victory at Evergreen Speedway (2013). During his NASCAR K&N tenure, Lupton has accumulated 10 top-fives and 22 top-10 finishes. A third place qualifying effort at Lebanon I-44 Speedway (June 2013) is his best time trials effort to date. He has controlled the K&N field three times for 84 laps.
The Bakersfield 150 is set for Saturday, August 30 from The Golden State. The 150-lap feature will commence shortly after 8:35 p.m. Pacific. The #Bakersfield150 is the 11th race of the NASCAR K&N Pro Series West season. It is the ninth of 12 oval track events and 14 races overall on the schedule. This is the series’ third visit to the track that opened in May 2013 and second visit this season.
For more on Dylan Lupton, please visit LuptonRacing.com or follow him on Twitter @LuptonDylan.