Dylan Lupton is eager to put to use his recently earned degree in business finance to help land a sponsorship to drive his racing career.
But Lupton, 22, of Wilton will first focus on his NASCAR Sprint Cup series debut and the ride he’s already secured driving the No. 93 Elk Grove Toyota/Bell Brothers Camry in Sunday’s Toyota/Save Mart 350 in Sonoma.
“I’m really excited for the opportunity,” said Lupton, who graduated in May from the University of North Carolina at Charlotte. “I started talking with (crew chief) Michael Ford, who used to work for BK Racing, and we managed to get Sonoma scheduled. If we do well, there may be more opportunities the rest of the (Sprint Cup) season.”
Lupton finished second in the K&N Pro Series West points standings and made the jump to the Xfinity Series – NASCAR’s version of Triple-A baseball – and raced a partial schedule for Athenian Motorsports. His best finish last season was a ninth at Mid-Ohio, a road course like Sonoma.
Lupton’s BK Racing teammates include David Ragan and Matthew DiBenedetto of Grass Valley.
“I’ve had a chance to say hello to Matt and David, but I don’t really know them,” Lupton said. “But I’ll certainly be asking them some questions this weekend.”
Lupton said he’s trying to secure funding for the rest of the 2016 season and beyond. If not Sprint Cup, he said he’ll gladly race in the Xfinity or Camping World Truck series. His success may depend on the skills he gleaned in college classrooms.
“The more education you have, the more well-rounded you are, and that can only help a driver and his team, especially when it comes to speaking with potential sponsors,” Lupton said. “At a sit-down with a potential sponsor, I go over the different sponsorship levels, bring renderings of the car wrapped in their company’s logo and bring plenty of racing statistics that show social media platform numbers, for instance, and demographics.”
Lupton said it’s always hard to sell sponsors on racing packages because sponsorship requires a serious investment. Getting the sit-down is half the battle, he said. Once he gets face-to-face, he’ll use his newly gained knowledge of finance seal the deal.
Hand helps Le Mans win
Sacramento’s Joey Hand and teammates Dirk Müller and Sebastien Bourdais won the GTE Pro race at Le Mans last weekend. The trio took turns driving their Ford GT for Chip Ganassi Racing Team USA during the 24-hour race.
Hand powered past the leaders along the famed Mulsanne Straight with 4 1/2 hours remaining. Müller later took the checkered flag with a 60-second lead over the second-place team of Giancarlo Fisichella, Toni Vilander and Matteo Malucelli, who drove a Ferrari GT.
“It’s great,” Hand said in a statement. “This is crazy. Hashtag America, that’s what I would say. I don’t know what to say. Just a great group of people, just a lot of great people, that’s what this is all about. This is a lot of hard work, we put it all on the line for them as drivers. We didn’t leave anything out there, and the car just kept on truckin’. It was a great day.”
Ryan Briscoe, Richard Westbrook and Scott Dixon, also in a Ford GT for Ganassi, finished third.
Moore finishes strong
Granite Bay driver Cole Moore, 19, finished 14th in his second start in the K&N Pro Series West on June 11 at the Napa Auto Parts 150 at Colorado National Speedway.
Moore, who drove the No. 20 JM Environmental Toyota Camry for Roseville’s Bill McAnally Racing team, qualified third and was in the top five until a late incident ended his night.
Moore is not entered in the Chevys Fresh Mex 200 on Saturday at Sonoma Raceway, a prelude to Sunday’s Sprint Cup Toyota/Save Mart 350, but BMR’s Chris Eggleston, Todd Gilliland, Riley Herbst and Julia Landauer will compete. Gilliland leads the K&N Pro Series West points chase, with defending champion Eggleston four points behind.
Mark Billingsley covers local motor sports for The Bee. Reach him at email@example.com
Toyota/Save Mart 350
- Where: Sonoma Raceway
- When: Sunday, noon
- TV: FS1
- Qualifying: Saturday, 11 a.m., FS1