SONOMA, CA – For most college students, the time right after graduation is full of uncertainty. While most graduates have a relative idea of what they want to do in the future, most are faced with the facts of real life. Jobs and opportunities don’t just come to you, you have to go out and chase them down. With that being said, one recent college graduate has done just that.
Fresh off his graduation ceremony a few weeks ago from University of North Carolina at Charlotte (UNCC), Dylan Lupton is set to make his first career start in the NASCAR Sprint Cup Series on Sunday.
It is an opportunity that Lupton has been chasing for quite sometime. The 22-year old has spent the past few years slowly working his way up the racing ladder. In 2013 and 2014, Lupton ran in the NASCAR K&N Pro Series West, acquiring Rookie of the Year honors in 2013, along with two overall victories. Last year he began to transition into the XFINITY series, the last step before getting into the “big leagues” at the Sprint Cup level, and on Sunday, he will finally be able to make that step.
This is a step Lupton is beyond ecstatic about taking.
“It’s cool to graduate and be done with college,” said Lupton after practice on Friday. “This deal is a lot of fun. It’s just a cool opportunity to be able to race with the Cup guys. I really hope we can get this car fine tuned so we can actually go out and battle hard on Sunday.”
He will pilot the No.93 Toyota for BK Racing in Sunday’s Toyota/Save Mart 350. For now, this is the only race he has planned with the team, but he has hope in potentially running more Sprint Cup races in the near future.
“We have talked about it, it’s just kind of dictated by how we run on Sunday,” said Lupton. “If everyone is happy with how we ran after the race then I am pretty sure you will see me back in a Cup car this year.”
For Lupton, his debut Cup race couldn’t come at a more fitting venue, since his hometown of Wilton, CA is less than 100 miles away from Sonoma Raceway. The 1.99-mile road course is actually the place that Lupton credits the start of his racing career, as he got behind the wheel of a go-kart for the first time here at the age of 13. Aside from go-karts, Lupton has also made two K&N West starts at Sonoma Raceway, in which he logged two impressive top-10 finishes.
The UNCC finance graduate has more experience heading into Sunday’s race at Sonoma than some Sprint Cup Series regulars have. Lupton will be looking to make the most of his first Sprint Cup start on Sunday.
“I know we will make it into the race,” said Lupton after final practice. “Right now we are just struggling in the slow-speed type corners – turn seven, turn 11, even a little bit in turn four. We are doing everything we can and just can’t get it to turn very well. We are losing a lot of time right there but I think if we are able to fix that we will be pretty good I think.”
So while most college students are dealing with the uncertainty that real life throws at you, Dylan Lupton has begun to somewhat land on his feet. Granted, racing is very difficult, and most everyone in the industry knows things can sometimes get rocky, Lupton knows exactly what he wants to do for a living. He has the drive and the will to get there and if the dominoes continue to fall into place, he could be living his dream not too far down the road.