Dylan Lupton Earns NASCAR K&N Pro Series West Redemption at Kern County Raceway

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Greg Pursley started the Bakersfield 150 presented by GPS NASCAR K&N Pro Series West race from the pole position and led 128 of 150 laps at Kern County Raceway Park

Greg Pursley started the Bakersfield 150 presented by GPS NASCAR K&N Pro Series West race from the pole position and led 128 of 150 laps at Kern County Raceway Park

Bakersfield, California, located halfway between Los Angeles, Calfiornia and Fresno, California, is situated at the southern end of California’s rural San Jaoquin Valley. While the area is suitable for growing a wide variety of crops it is still considered a desert climate and triple digit temperatures are the norm during summer months. Despite the heat, NASCAR K&N Pro Series West teams and fans packed the state-of-the-art facility at Kern County Raceway Park.

Jesse Little took the lead in the number 97 NASCAR Technical Institute Chevrolet on lap 82 putting a one second gap on the field until a restart brought the pack together again

Jesse Little took the lead in the number 97 NASCAR Technical Institute Chevrolet on lap 82 putting a one second gap on the field until a restart brought the pack together again

Several NASCAR K&N Pro Series West drivers had high expectations heading into the 11th race of the 2014 West Series season at Kern County Raceway Park in Bakersfield, California. Greg Pursley, who drives the number 26 Gene Price Motorsports Chevrolet, was the only NASCAR K&N Pro Series West driver to have won at KCRP with two wins to his name. Construction of Kern County Raceway Park was completed just last year. David Mayhew, fresh off his NKNPSW win in Monroe Washington, also felt confident coming into this race. Mayhew is a Bakersfield resident and has 20 feature event wins at KCRP in various racing classes. Jesse Little, son of former NASCAR Cup Series driver Chad Little, normally competes in the NASCAR K&N Pro Series East series but made the trip to Bakersfield, California because he enjoys the track and had a top-five finish at the Kern County race in May.

A caution on lap 148 of the Bakersfield 150 presented by GPS forced a restart where Greg Pursley would receive a black flag sending him back to ninth and giving Dylan Lupton the win

A caution on lap 148 of the Bakersfield 150 presented by GPS forced a restart where Greg Pursley would receive a black flag sending him back to ninth and giving Dylan Lupton the win

High day-time temperatures meant track conditions would change when the sun set behind the grandstands at Kern County Raceway Park. Teams and drivers anticipated the track to change and attempted to set up their cars accordingly. Heading into qualifying Greg Pursley, who has won twice at Kern County Raceway Park, said “We’re running the same set up as the last Bakersfield race in May.” Whatever the Gene Price Motorsports team did to their car in May worked again, as Greg Pursley would come out of qualifying with the fastest lap time of 18.255 seconds. David Mayhew, who knows this track like the back of his hand qualified third behind Brandon McReynolds. Mayhew said “We fixed our brakes before qualifying. I wasn’t used to how well the car stopped. This hurt us a little.”

Dylan Lupton celebrates his second NASCAR K&N Pro Series West Race victory by doing a burnout in the number 9 Sunrise Ford of Fontana Fusion on the Kern County Raceway Park infield

Dylan Lupton celebrates his second NASCAR K&N Pro Series West Race victory by doing a burnout in the number 9 Sunrise Ford of Fontana Fusion on the Kern County Raceway Park infield

There was a mandatory pit stop scheduled for the halfway point of the Bakersfield 150 presented by GPS. Crew members could add fuel and make adjustments, but could not install fresh tires. This meant that tire conservation during the entire 150 laps of the half-mile oval would play a role in deciding the race winner. Greg Pursley, in the # 26 GPM Chevy, knew this and planned to keep an eye on the other drivers watching how hard they would drive. Pursley has fifteen years of auto racing experience following a transition from motorcycle racing and is a veteran driver when compared to the younger drivers of the NKNPSW series.

David Mayhew, a Bakersfield, California resident, felt confident going into the NASCAR K&N Pro Series West race at Kern County Raceway Park but was struck with mechanical problems

David Mayhew, a Bakersfield, California resident, felt confident going into the NASCAR K&N Pro Series West race at Kern County Raceway Park but was struck with mechanical problems

Pursley’s experience would help him dominate the Bakersfield 150 presented by GPS leading 128 of 150 laps. Pursley briefly surrendered the lead to Jesse Little on lap 82, only to regain it again after a restart on lap 108. Little said “I felt like I just pushed too hard after I took the lead from Greg. You could tell that he’s the veteran and just saved his stuff more.” Little faded back a few positions as drivers like Dylan Lupton, who started ninth, worked their way toward the front. Lupton found his way into second and was gaining on Pursley cutting his lead from two seconds down to just half of a second.

Greg Pursley won the 21 means 21 presented by Coors Brewing Co. Pole Award for earning the fast qualifying time at Kern Country Raceway Park in the Bakersfield 150 presented by GPS

Greg Pursley won the 21 means 21 presented by Coors Brewing Co. Pole Award for earning the fast qualifying time at Kern Country Raceway Park in the Bakersfield 150 presented by GPS

On lap 148 Greg Pursley expected to come around the front straight to see a white flag signaling the final lap but a yellow caution flag was waived instead. This fateful caution meant the final lap came and went under yellow with a green and white checker two lap shootout to decide the race. The restart must have been nerve racking for race leader Greg Pursley. He took off before the restart point and was subsequently black flagged for a restart violation. This handed the Bakersfield 150 presented by GPS victory to Dylan Lupton in the number 9 Sunrise Ford. Lupton described that final restart by saying “There’s a restart point and it looked like Pursley jumped it by about a car-and-a-half or two car lengths early. That gave us the win right there, but, I think if we would have battled, we could have also contended for the win.” The penalty dropped Pursley to ninth place.

Brandon McReynolds was a mere .269 seconds behind Dylan Lupton at the line and Jesse Little would bring it in for a solid third place finish. Lupton’s Sunrise Ford teammate James Bickford came in fourth and Thomas Martin drove the MedActive Chevrolet across the line in fifth place. The number 17 MMI Services Chevrolet driven by David Mayhew suffered power-steering problems during the race. The team was forced to pit and cut the power steering belt to maintain steering consistency. This put Mayhew down a lap and he finished in tenth place.

Greg Pursley continues to lead the NASCAR K&N Pro Series West championship points with Dylan Lupton only fifteen points behind. Brandon McReynolds is in third trailing Lupton by just eleven points. With the points standings this close the lead can still change in the three races remaining in the 2014 season. The next race will be at Miller Motorsports Park for the Utah Grand Prix road course race.

Dylan Lupton celebrates the victory on top of his race car
Dylan Lupton poses for a picture and shows his excitement for his victory
Dylan Lupton and team

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