AUDIO/FEATURE: Mission Accomplished for Dylan Lupton in NASCAR XFINITY Series Debut

Marshall Gabell Audio, Featured, NASCAR, West 0 Comments

AVONDALE, Ariz. and CHARLOTTE, N.C. – Story by Race Chaser Online Mid-Atlantic Correspondent Marshall Gabell – Performance Motorsports Network audio – Christian Peterson/Getty Images North America photo –

It was not the ultimate debut, but it was a successful one for NASCAR NEXT alumni and Athenian Motorsports driver Dylan Lupton in the NASCAR XFINITY Series at Phoenix International Raceway.

Lupton, who will also compete in six other XFINITY Series events with Athenian, entered this weekend looking to gain tenure and experience and  left with his race car in one piece and a 19th-place finish in his first race on the national series stage.

“The plan is to go out and learn as much as I can,” Lupton explained on the Stock Car Steel/SRI Motorsports Show last Thursday. “To do that, I have to complete all the laps. So that is one of the biggest goals. I have to remain on the lead lap and the goal that I am setting for myself is finish inside the top ten or top (dozen).”

Despite not being able to remain on the lead lap or finish inside the top dozen, Lupton did complete the entire event, an often difficult task for rookies, and also was able to get accustomed with his new organization.

Lupton, who competed full-time in the NASCAR K&N Pro Series West the last two seasons, also did not see these XFINITY Series cars until practice this weekend.

“Unfortunately we were not able to test with NASCAR’s testing policy,” Lupton said. “I really have to rely on my races from the K&N West to gain experience in these XFINITY Series cars. The biggest thing is learning these new tires. So there are definitely some adjustments I will have to (learn).”

Even though it wasn’t a debut that stopped the presses, the race held much more meaning for the Wilton, California native considering his parents and friends were all able to attend (Phoenix is about 12 hours from his hometown).

“It [was] nice to have my first race on the west coast,” Lupton expressed. “I [had] a big group of family and friends supporting me and experiencing my first XFINITY Series race. I’m very thankful to have [had] everyone here to support me.”

Now that the checkered flag has dropped at Phoenix, the 21-year-old is looking forward to his next start in the XFINITY Series at Richmond International Raceway and also the two road courses he will run during the summer months.

“The tracks that I am looking forward to the most are the two road courses,” Lupton said. “I am racing at Mid-Ohio and Road America and I had a bunch of success at Infineon and Miller Motorsports Park in the K&N Pro Series. So I am looking forward to getting back to road course racing.”

Lupton had five career starts on the road circuits in his K&N Pro Series West career and scored four top five finishes and had an average finish of fourth – two stats that give him ample confidence at the road courses in the XFINITY Series.

“There were a handful of Sprint Cup drivers that came out and ran (in the K&N West at road courses) and I was able to learn a lot from them. I think our odds going to Road America and Mid-Ohio are quite high,” Lupton continued. “I think we can get a top five or even a win at those two tracks.”

Lupton will return to the track for Athenian Motorsports at Richmond International Raceway in April.

 

Listen in to an extended cut of Race Chaser Online’s interview with Lupton from Thursday’s Stock Car Steel/SRI Motorsports Show below:

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