Keeping Pace

Lupton leads NASCAR K&N Pro Series rookie chase

K&N along with NASCAR unveiled a new series name and sponsor for their East and West circuits. (Courtesy of NASCAR)
K&N along with NASCAR unveiled a new series name and sponsor for their East and West circuits. (Courtesy of NASCAR)

Dylan Lupton has been the top finishing Sunoco rookie in three of the nine races this season. In addition to his win at Evergreen Speedway in Monroe, Wash., on Saturday – the 19-year-old freshman driver from Wilton, Calif., has three top five and eight top 10 finishes and is fifth in the overall championship standings.

Courtesy: NASCAR Media Relations

 

DAYTONA BEACH, Fla. (Aug. 19, 2013) – Dylan Lupton has taken a substantial lead over Giles Thornton in the chase for this year’s Sunoco Rookie of the Year title in the NASCAR K&N Pro Series West.

 

Lupton – coming off his first career series win – leads Thornton in the rookie standings by 14 points as the series continues its swing through the state of Washington and heads to Spokane County Raceway for the Toyota/NAPA Auto Parts 150 on Saturday, Aug. 24. The event on the half-mile oval in Airway Heights, Wash., marks the 10th event on a 15-race series schedule.

 

Lupton has been the top finishing Sunoco rookie in three of the nine races this season. In addition to his win at Evergreen Speedway in Monroe, Wash., on Saturday – the 19-year-old freshman driver from Wilton, Calif., has three top five and eight top 10 finishes and is fifth in the overall championship standings.

 

“I have a little bit of a cushion right now in points, but I’ve got to keep on finishing well,” said Lupton, who drives the No. 9 Vadio/Lupton Excavating/Sunrise Ford Ford for championship car owner Bob Bruncati. “We’ve been a little bit inconsistent and Giles Thornton has been able to gain points on us. I need to keep getting solid finishes, so I can keep my points lead and finish as the rookie of the year.”

 

Lupton got his initial taste of series competition in 2011, when he made three starts in the second half of the year. He returned to the series this season in what was announced as a two-year deal with Bruncati’s Sunrise Ford racing team.

 

Thornton, meanwhile, had to delay his series debut this year until after April 7, when he turned 15 – the minimum age to compete in the series. Despite missing the season opener, the driver of the family-owned No. 12 TTC Racing Toyota has quickly moved up in the rookie standings. The Whitefish, Mont., resident recorded his best series finish of fourth at Colorado National Speedway in July. He has two top five and four top 10 finishes in eight starts and is 10th in the overall standings.

 

“It’s a two-way battle right now between me and Dylan in the (No.) 9 car,” said Thornton, who acknowledged having to come from behind in the chase. “He has another race under his belt at Phoenix. I think it’s going to come down to the wire and it’s going to be a lot of fun.”

 

Thornton has steadily progressed in racing since first testing out a Bandolero at the age of 7. He later moved up to compete in Super Late Model stock cars. In addition to his home track of Montana Raceway Park in Kalispell, Mont.; Thornton has raced at tracks throughout the West – including Spokane County Raceway.

 

RACE: Toyota/NAPA Auto Parts 150

PLACE: Spokane County Raceway

DATE: Saturday, Aug. 24

TIME: 8:35 p.m. PT

TRACK LAYOUT: .5-mile oval

2012 WINNER: Event not held

2012 POLESITTER: Event not held

EVENT SCHEDULE: Saturday: Practice 12:30-1:15 p.m., 2:15–3 p.m., Qualifying 5:30 p.m.

TRACK CONTACT: Bill McAnally (916) 676-0010 bmcanally@billmcanallyracing.com

EVENT HASHTAG: #ToyotaNAPA150

 

FAST FACTS

The Race: This event is the 10th of 15 events on the 2013 schedule for the NASCAR K&N Pro Series West.

 

The Procedure: The starting field is 24 cars, including provisionals. The first 20 cars will qualify through two-lap time trials. The remaining four spots will be awarded through the provisional process. The race will be 150 laps.

 

The Track: Spokane County Raceway is a .5-mile paved oval.

 

Records: Qualifying: Dylan Kwasniewski, Sept. 3, 2011, 95.965 mph, 18.796 seconds; Race: To be established at this distance (150 laps).

 

History: Spokane County Raceway has hosted two NASCAR K&N Pro Series races, in 1979 and in 2011.

 

SPOKANE RACE NOTES

Waltrip Returns: Michael Waltrip is set to return to series competition at Spokane County Raceway in the first of two NASCAR K&N Pro Series West races on his schedule this season. The Spokane event will mark his seventh series start. Waltrip, a two-time winner of the Daytona 500, scored a NASCAR K&N Pro Series West win at Pikes Peak International Raceway in Fountain, Colo., in 1997. He finished sixth at Colorado in his only series start last year. In addition to Spokane, Waltrip is also slated to race at All American Speedway in Roseville, Calif., on Oct. 12.

 

‘PEAK Challenge’ Winner To Compete: The winner of the PEAK Stock Car Dream Challenge, Patrick Staropoli, is slated to race in the K&N West event at Spokane. In the Challenge, which premiered on SPEED earlier this month, nine stock car racing hopefuls competed for the chance to become a Michael Waltrip Racing development driver. Clint Bowyer, Mark Martin, Danica Patrick, Martin Truex Jr. and others coached the drivers in front of a panel of judges. Staropoli – a Florida driver who in his racing career, progressed from karting to late model stock cars – will be competing for Bill McAnally Racing at Spokane as a teammate to Michael Waltrip and Eric Holmes.

 

Tyrrell Back In Action: Luis Tyrrell, who made his series debut with a fourth-place finish at Stockton in May, is slated to make his second series start at Spokane. Tyrrell of Brisbane, Calif., celebrated his 17th birthday last week.

 

Milestone: Series veteran Greg Pursley will celebrate a career mark at Spokane, with his 80th series start. The 2011 series champion, who drives the No. 26 GPM/Star Nursery/Real Water Ford for championship car owner Gene Price, made his first series start at Mesa Marin Raceway in Bakersfield, Calif., on Oct. 17, 1999.

 

LAST TIME OUT: Monroe

First Time Winner: Dylan Lupton scored his first career series win with a victory in the NAPA Auto Parts 150 presented by Toyota at Evergreen Speedway in Monroe, Wash., on Saturday, Aug. 17. The win came in just his 12th series start.

 

Haley Captures Fifth Pole: Cameron Hayley won the 21 Means 21 Pole Award by Coors Brewing Co., in qualifying at Monroe – giving him five poles in nine races this season. The 17-year-old driver – who is a member of the NASCAR Next program – also won poles at Stockton, Lebanon, Sonoma and Iowa earlier this month.

 

Career-Best Finishes: A couple of drivers registered significant career-best finishes at Monroe. Braeden Havens and Carl Harr – who finished fourth and fifth, respectively – turned in their first career top-five finishes.

 

Strong Series Debut: In addition, two drivers each had a strong series debut at Monroe. Matt Tifft finished ninth, while Phyl Zubizareta finished 11th.




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Keeping Pace

Motorsports correspondent Doug Pace keeps up with motorsports news and notes from around the region.






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