RICHMOND, Va. – NASCAR Next alumnus Dylan Lupton finished a respectable 25th in Saturday night’s Federated Auto Parts 400 at Richmond (Va.) International Raceway in one of three BK Racing entries in the final race of the regular NASCAR Sprint Cup Series season.

clip_image004 (28)Reflecting back to his first oval Cup start, the Wilton, California native was extremely appreciative of the opportunity to make his fifth NASCAR national series start overall, and to finish all but one lap after being involved in a multi-car accident at RIR on Lap 363 – Lupton was not only satisfied, but ecstatic.

“I can’t thank BK Racing, E.J. Wade Construction and Union Bank for the opportunity to compete at Richmond,” said Lupton. “We made huge gains from practice on Friday to the checkered flag Saturday night. We kept adjusting the car and our lap times were able to prove that we were heading into the right direction.

“The wreck late in the race – I did my best to avoid it, but I had cars all around me and didn’t have anywhere to go. Luckily, we didn’t have any suspension damage and we were able to get back out on the track losing only one lap. From there, we persevered together and brought home a 25th place finish. I’m incredibly satisfied with that in my second career Cup start.”

Earlier in the weekend, the two-time NASCAR K&N Pro Series West winner main objective was to finish the race – like he did in his Sprint Cup debut at Sonoma (Calif.) Raceway in June. On Saturday, the Californian did more than finish, he gained priceless experience competing with some of the world’s finest race car drivers.

“I hope I earned some respect from my competitors,” added Lupton. “We had to find the handling of our No. 83 E.J. Wade Construction / Union Bank & Trust Toyota Camry throughout the weekend and while we made gains, I was just still too tight to make a serious run towards the top-20. Still, the team never gave up, I felt I raced those around with me respect and hope they remember that if I run more races in the future.”

Lupton added that he also respected and appreciated the opportunity to work with crew chief Doug Richert at Richmond.

“I can’t say enough about Doug,” said Lupton. “He and the entire BK Racing team were patient with me, offered advice and feedback and were attentive to what I had to say about the car throughout the weekend. He made some great calls during the race on Saturday that proved vital to keep on or near the lead lap for a lot of the race which ultimately allowed us to finish 25th. I can’t say thank you enough.”

While Lupton’s plans for the remainder of the season are being finalized, the rookie driver said he’ll be ready to get back in a race where – when the timing is right.

“We’re working on our plans,” added Lupton. “We have some options at all three of NASCAR’s national levels, but I want to make sure whatever we decide to do is the best interest of my career and those who support me. I’m extremely grateful to RSS Racing (XFINITY Series) and BK Racing for taking a chance on me this year and I look forward to the future.”

After finishing second in the NASCAR K&N Pro Series West championship in 2014, Lupton advanced to the NASCAR XFINITY Series in 2015 in a partial schedule with Athenian Motorsports. Additionally, Lupton has been elected twice to the NASCAR Next program. An evolution of the Next9 initiative that began in 2011, the NASCAR Next program (2014-2015 and 2015-2016) is an all-embracing industry initiative to help spotlight the sport’s rising stars – and boost fan recognition around talent that will grow into NASCAR Sprint Cup Series mainstays.

In particular, Lupton has been an advocate for the science, technology, engineering and mathematics (STEM) project where he has spent time informing students about the fundamentals of NASCAR and how each subject applies.

Lupton graduated this past May with a bachelor’s degree in Business Finance from UNC Charlotte.

For more on Dylan Lupton follow him on Twitter @LuptonDylan or visit his Facebook page.

About E.J. Wade Construction

E.J. Wade Construction is a woman-owned and operated organization, founded and headquartered in Mechanicsville, VA, right in the Richmond metro area. Our business was founded on, and continues to be managed with, the values of integrity, safety, quality and stewardship. With these values as our core since the beginning in 1991, we have continued to grow and develop our company into a multi-faceted construction company, offering services ranging from pre-construction consultation to general contracting needs. We commit to excellence and in exceeding our customers’ expectations in every job.

About Union Bank & Trust:

Union Bank & Trust is the largest community bank headquartered in Virginia. Union has a full array of financial products and services to offer including wealth management, mortgage, commercial and business banking as well as consumer banking. With $8.1 billion in assets and 120 branches, Union has the size to meet your financial needs and a convenient location near where you work, live and play. Stop by a local branch and see how Union can help you today.

Credit: Josh Weinrich