BAKERSFIELD, Calif. – official series release — Cappello Racing photo —
Dylan Cappello did the final test on his new race car Saturday at Kern County Raceway Park and found out several things.
The reigning Lucas Oil Modified Series champion confirmed that the Discount Tire/BILSTEIN Shocks/Sears Garage Doors STR Chevrolet is fast, photogenic and responds positively to changes, and he learned that he also can make it very wide when he’s trying to protect a lead.
Cappello found that out while holding off Scott Winters over the final 14 laps to win the General Tire 75 special event at the fast, new half-mile paved oval just outside of Bakersfield.
“After the yellow (on lap 61) I was doing everything I could to keep him behind me,” Cappello said after taking the checkered flag 0.298 seconds ahead of Winters, who had trailed by more than 3 seconds when he took second away from fast qualifier Austin Barnes on lap 33.
That Barnes was running second after being the fastest throughout all the preliminary practice and qualifying was where the changes to Cappello’s car came in.
“Between the last practice and qualifying we changed just about everything and it ended up working out,” said Cappello, who qualified second, took the lead from Barnes when the green flag waved and for a time drove away from the small group of pursuers. “From the start to the end I lost 2 inches of stagger and started slowing down. I was having to practically park it in the middle of the corners to get it to turn.”
It was a three-man race from the outset, with Cappello sprinting out to his 3-second lead while Winters, who had started third, resolutely stalked Barnes and waited for his Ferrari Farms STR Chevrolet to settle in.
Barnes, meanwhile, was trying to overcome a suddenly ill-handling car, a condition resulting from the kind of right-side tire problems that also troubled Jason Patison, Cappello and others. Patison surrendered fourth place and went to the pits with a deflating right rear tire on lap 63 and Cappello said he had “burned off” both his right-side tires.
That’s why when Winters finally moved into the runner-up spot he quickly opened a gap between himself and Barnes and closed the one between himself and Cappello.
“We gradually started running him down,” Winters said, “but from the yellow to the end he was just a little bit better.”
The Lucas Oil Modified Series presented by LoanMart will open its 10-race championship season March 14 at Havasu 95 Speedway, a quarter-mile oval in Lake Havasu City, Arizona.
RESULTS: Lucas Oil Modified Series; General Tire 75; Kern County Raceway Park; Feb. 28, 2015
1. Dylan Cappello; 2. Scott Winters; 3. Austin Barnes; 4. Taylor Miinch; 5. Eddie Secord; 6. Tripp Gaylord; 7. Jerry Toporek; 8. Mike Regelman; 9. Blaine Perkins; 10. Jason Patison; 11. Tim Esmey; 12. Allen Rider; 13. Kevin Nichols.
Margin of victory – 0.298 seconds.
Fast qualifier – Barnes, 18.355 seconds.
Invitational Dash winner – Barnes.
CREDIT: Lucas Oil Modified Series