After a season-best 12th-place finish last year at Daytona International Speedway, Dylan Lupton will once again drive for JGL Racing in the NASCAR XFINITY Series, set for an expanded schedule this time around.
Before he takes to the track this year, the 24-year-old talked to POPULAR SPEED about his thoughts entering the year.
POPULAR SPEED: What are your thoughts entering the season?
DYLAN LUPTON: I’m excited. I think this is the first season that I have quite a bit of races lined up in February. Usually, it’s mostly April and we’re slow trying to get our race plans together. So it’s exciting that we were able to get these 22 events aligned with JGL Racing. I’m going to be doing the first six races, and trying to secure sponsorship for those other 12 to make it full-time.
PS: What are your goals and expectations?
DYLAN: I think we built a really solid base last year with the JGL team, and our relationship grew throughout the year and the last two races I was able to run the 28, which we will have this year. So I really think we’ll be a top-15 team as the weeks progress. If we can run top-15 every week and get finishes around there, that’d be a good goal to set for us.
PS: What track are you most excited for?
DYLAN: I’d have to say California. I love Auto Club Speedway. There’s not much grip, and the seams make it awfully interesting, and there’s so many different line options you have as a driver. I wasn’t able to run there last year, but I was able to in 2016 and it’s just a fun track to race at in my opinion.
PS: What was the biggest thing you learned last year you’re carrying into this season?
DYLAN: I gained a lot of experience at new tracks – say half of my schedule, if not more last year, was at tracks that I hadn’t been to before. It helped speed up the process. I was able to learn how to adapt to new tracks quickly. I also have a lot of notes going into the race tracks that I was able to go to last year. I was able to gain a ton of experience, so looking forward to carrying that into this year.
PS: What are your thoughts on how the stage racing played out? Does it change your strategy for this year?
DYLAN: It didn’t change our strategy last year, because I wasn’t running full-time or for the points. However, I’m a big fan of the stage racing. You’re able to put these few different strategies and now that we’re trying to go full-time this year, we’re going to be looking to try and get some stage points. At some tracks we’re running good at, or there’s not much tire fall off, we might risk it and stay out if there’s a caution near the end of the stage and try to battle our way into the top-15 to get some stage points.
PS: How did you initially get involved in racing?
DYLAN: I started racing dirt bikes when I was younger, and just broke a lot of bones, so my parents wanted to get me on four wheels because it’s a little safer so I started racing go-karts. Then I think I moved into a Late Model when I turned 16 at Irwindale Speedway, and been climbing the ranks since.
What’s been your most memorable career moment to date?
I’d have to say my first Cup start at Sonoma. That’ll always be probably one of my biggest memories. Sonoma is my home track. I grew up going out there and racing on the go-kart track on the hill, and always looking down on the big track, dreaming one day of being out there battling against the Cup guys. Never in my wildest dreams did I think that it’d actually come true. It was a really cool experience to have all my friends and family out there at my home track for my first Cup start.
Down the road, what would it mean to you to become a full-time Cup Series driver?
That’d be a dream. I think every driver in XFINITY, Truck Series, K&N Series, even the weekly level, all strives to someday go full-time in the Cup Series. If I can make a career out of NASCAR, I’d be very happy. I’ve put in a lot of time in the trenches for my family business, and I know racing a car is a lot more fun than digging a dirt hole with a shovel.
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