Wilton, California native Dylan Lupton will make his NASCAR Sprint Cup Series debut in tomorrow’s Toyota / Save Mart 350 after successfully qualifying Saturday afternoon at Sonoma (Calif.) Speedway
Lupton in a third BK Racing entry went out early during Round 1 of Sprint Cup Series qualifying and laid down the 38th quickest lap overall and third quickest among the five drivers that had to qualify on-time to earn a starting berth into the sixteenth race of the season.
By earning the third of four “open” spots, the 22-year-old Lupton will make a lifelong dream come true tomorrow, being one of the 40 starters in NASCAR’s elite division.
During practice on Friday at Sonoma, Lupton battled a tight condition in his No. 93 Bell Bros / Elk Grove Toyota Camry, but constant adjustments by crew chief Mike Ford allowed Lupton to not only get more comfortable inside the race car, but improve his lap times overall.
Lupton is attempting his third NASCAR race of the season after competing in back-to-back NASCAR XFINITY Series events earlier this season at Phoenix (Ariz.) International Raceway and Auto Club (Calif.) Speedway respectively. For his Cup debut, Lupton, a native of Wilton, California has paired with his XFINITY Series crew chief Mike Ford who led Lupton to a ninth place finish at Mid-Ohio Sports Car Course last year. The finish was a career-best for Lupton and his Athenian Motorsports team in XFINITY Series competition.
The recent UNC Charlotte graduate has two NASCAR K&N Pro Series West (NKSW) races at the 1.99-mile 10-turn venue driving for Bob Bruncati, Lupton has a best finish of third, while also producing a respectable eighth place finish after a late race charge from the back of the field in his track debut in 2013.
“This is such a blessing to make my Sprint Cup Series debut tomorrow at Sonoma. I was hoping we would be a little faster than we were today, but we made more gains and that’s a good feeling heading into the race tomorrow.
“I’ve learned so much about these cars, myself and the track this weekend, it’s really been an experience I’ll never forget.
“For the race, our goal is to see the checkered flag. If we can race the race track and stay on the track all day and have a little bit of luck, I think we have a shot at a top-25 finish. That would be huge for me. I’m just going to stay focused behind the wheel and do my job.
“I can’t thank Bell Bros., Elk Grove Toyota, BK Racing, my family and friends for all their support this weekend. I can’t begin to tell you what this debut means to me, I’m just excited to take the green flag tomorrow!”
After finishing second in the NASCAR K&N Pro Series West championship in 2014, Lupton advanced to the NASCAR XFINITY Series in 2015 in a partial schedule with Athenian Motorsports. Additionally, Lupton has been elected twice to the NASCAR Next program. An evolution of the Next9 initiative that began in 2011, the NASCAR Next program (2014-2015 and 2015-2016) is an all-embracing industry initiative to help spotlight the sport’s rising stars – and boost fan recognition around talent that will grow into NASCAR Sprint Cup Series mainstays.
In particular, Lupton has been an advocate for the science, technology, engineering and mathematics (STEM) project where he has spent time informing students about the fundamentals of NASCAR and how each subject applies.
Dylan Lupton PR