NASCAR Next Driver Dylan Lupton Returns To Site Of XFINITY Series Debut
Topics: Dylan Lupton, Axalta Faster. Tougher. Brighter. 200
Knight Motorsports Management
11 March 2016
AVONDALE, Arizona (March 11, 2016) – One year ago this weekend NASCAR Next driver Dylan Lupton made his NASCAR XFINITY Series (NXS) debut in the Axalta Faster. Tougher. Brighter. 200 at Phoenix (Ariz.) International Raceway with a noteworthy performance.
Fast forward 12 months later, Lupton, a native of Wilton, California returns to the 1.0-mile oval looking for similar success in his XFINITY Series debut with RSS Racing.
“I always enjoy competing at Phoenix International Raceway,” said Lupton who has eight XFINITY Series starts under his belt. “It’s a race track where I feel like my experience and a good race car can give us the opportunity to turn some heads. No doubt that’s what we want to do this weekend.”
In order to have an opportunity to better his 19th place finish from Phoenix last season, Lupton is concentrated on utilizing the three practice sessions given to the XFINITY Series teams on Friday to his advantage. The University of North Carolina – Charlotte senior also plans to work side-by-side with crew chief Mike Ford and veteran team member Mark Gibson.
Reunited with Lupton after last season, Ford, a longtime industry veteran led the 22-year-old to several impressive outings last season in the No. 25 Chevrolet Camaro. In over 450 starts as crew chief in the NASCAR Sprint Cup Series, Ford won 21 races, most recently in 2011 with driver Denny Hamlin.
“The extra practices on Friday will be beneficial to us for sure,” Lupton sounded. “This is a new program for me, Mike (Ford) and an expanded effort for RSS Racing. Our planned debut at Las Vegas hit some road blocks, but that’s in the past and we’re focused on the path ahead of us.
“I really hope to be able to work with my teammate Ryan Sieg and he can tell me what he’s experiencing and vice-versa and we can go from there. No doubt that Mike’s notebook for Phoenix will be incredibly beneficial as well. In the end, it’s important for me and the team to battle back from adversity with a good run Saturday.”
Last season, Lupton competed in eight races, delivering a top-10 finish in his road course debut at Mid-Ohio Sports Car Course. His ninth place effort is an XFINITY Series best for Athenian Motorsports, now a part-time team. Looking back at his limited schedule from last year, Lupton says every race was worth it, including his debut at Phoenix’s demanding 1.-0-mile oval.
“Phoenix is one of those places where the more laps you have, the better off you’re likely going to be,” he said. “I have a lot of laps around Phoenix, in fact hundreds of laps around there, if we just keep up the handling, I feel we have the ability to do well on Saturday. Of course, time will ultimately tell.”
The 22-year-old kicked off his 2016 racing season by competing in the ARCA Racing Series presented by Menards opener at Daytona (Fla.) International Speedway. Lupton drove the No. 82 Ford Fusion in a partnership between Empire Racing and Win-Tron Racing. Considered one of the pre-race favorites after turning fast laps during the test in January, Lupton was in contention for a top-10 finish before engine issues thwarted his charge late in the race.
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 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.
Lupton will graduate in May with a bachelor’s degree in finance from UNCC Charlotte.
For more on Dylan Lupton follow him on Twitter @LuptonDylan or visit LuptonRacing.com.
The Axalta Faster. Tougher. Brighter. 200 (200 laps / 200 miles) is the fourth of 33 NASCAR XFINITY Series on the 2016 schedule. Practice begins on Friday, March 11 from 9:30 a.m. – 10:25 a.m. The second session will launch from 1:00 p.m. – 2:25 p.m. A final practice has been etched in from 3:30 p.m. – 4:25 p.m. Qualifying is set for race day, Saturday, March 12 beginning at 9:45 a.m. The 40-car field will take the green flag shortly after 12:30 p.m. with live coverage on FOX, the Motor Racing Network (Radio) and SiriusXM NASCAR Radio (Satellite Radio, Channel 90). All times are Mountain.
PHOTO CAPTION: Dylan Lupton, driver of the No. 93 RSS Racing Chevrolet Camaro in the NASCAR XFINITY Series (NXS) for RSS Racing.
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