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Dylan Lupton returns to Athenian Motorsports for Truck Series race at Phoenix

AVONDALE, Ariz. – While John Wes Townley continues to heal from an ankle injury, Athenian Motorsports and Dylan Lupton Racing jointly announced today that Dylan Lupton will rejoin the organization for Friday night’s NASCAR Camping World Truck Series (NCWTS) Lucas Oil 150 at Phoenix (Ariz.) International Raceway.

“I’m very thankful for this opportunity to drive for Athenian Motorsports this weekend at Phoenix,” said Lupton. “I hope John Wes (Townley) is on the road to a speedy recovery and can return soon.

“In the meantime, I’m looking forward to going to Phoenix this weekend and having a good run in our No. 05 Lupton Excavation / Zaxby’s Chevrolet. Phoenix is one of my best tracks, so I’m looking forward to seeing what we can do in Friday night’s race. We’ll have a good truck, so our goal is to run up front and get a good finish.”

Lupton, the Wilton, Calif. native ran eight NASCAR XFINITY Series (NXS) races for Athenian Motorsports last year led by crew chief Mike Ford. Lupton made his debut at Phoenix but earned his career-best finish on the road course at Mid-Ohio Sports Car Course, where he finished ninth after starting 16th.

The finish remains the lone XFINITY Series top-10 run for Athenian Motorsports in 41 career starts.

Lupton, a NASCAR Next alumnus returns to the Truck Series after making his series debut last month at Talladega Superspeedway driving for Young’s Motorsports. After a flat tire in qualifying relegated them to a 27th place qualifying run, Lupton quickly drafted to inside the top-10 during the race, later spun and recovered for a solid 12th place finish in his series debut.

This time around, the 22-year-old realizes the circumstances will be different comparing Talladega to Phoenix, but he is anxious to continue his learning curve in trucks while he begins to hash out his racing plans for the 2017 season.

“I really experienced a lot in the truck at Talladega,” Lupton recalled. “But, Phoenix will be different compared to track sizes, feel, rhythm and more. The good thing for me is that I’ve been with two teams (Young’s Motorsports and Athenian) who care about my best interest and want to see me succeed. We’ll make the most of practice, try to qualify up front and see how the race plays out.

“I’m not sure if I’ll be racing at Homestead, so a good run at Phoenix will definitely give me some momentum to carry into the off season.”

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.

The Lucas Oil 150 (150 Laps / 150 Miles) is the 22nd of 23 NASCAR Camping World Truck Series on the 2016 schedule. Practice begins Fri., Nov. 11 from 9:30 a.m. – 10:25 a.m., while a final session has been etched in from 1:00 p.m. – 1:50 p.m. Qualifying will take place later in the day at 6:30 p.m. The 32-truck field will take the green flag shortly thereafter at 8:00 p.m. with live coverage on FOX Sports 1 (FS1), the Motor Racing Network (Radio) and SiriusXM NASCAR Radio (Satellite Radio, Channel 90). All times are local (Mountain).

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Dylan Lupton NASCAR XFINITY Series Road America 180 Race Preview

NASCAR XFINITY Series Race No. 23, Road America 180 Fired Up By Johnsonville, Road America (Wisc.), Elkhart Lake, Wisconsin

Race Information: Event: Road America 180 Fired Up By Johnsonville, Saturday, August 29 at 2:00 p.m. Local Time Track: Road America (Wisc.) Qualifying: Saturday, August 29 at 11:15 a.m. Local Time Track Length: 4.05 mile road course

Back And Ready For More: For the third time in five races, Dylan Lupton will return to the helm of the No. 25 Athenian Motorsports Chevrolet Camaro. Lupton, however, will make his XFINITY Series debut at Road America (Wisc.) Saturday afternoon.

Saturday’s Road America 180 Fired Up By Johnsonville is the second consecutive road course race for the Wilton, California native.

Last Race Recap; Mid-Ohio Sports Car Course: On the heels of his career-best finish earlier this month at Iowa Speedway, Lupton stormed into his first career road course race with realistic expectations.

Those expectations quickly became reality and despite qualifying 16th, Lupton quickly muscled his No. 25 Zaxby’s Chevrolet Camaro inside the top-10. Perfect strategy from crew chief Mike Ford, along with a relentless driver behind the wheel, Lupton finished ninth in the Nationwide Children’s Hospital 200.

In six NASCAR XFINITY Series starts this season, Lupton has managed to complete 95 percent of the laps completed in his limited schedule for Athenian Motorsports.

Networking Galore: Despite not participating in the NASCAR XFINITY Series race at Bristol (Tenn.) Motor Speedway last Friday night in Thunder Valley, Lupton did however attend the race where he networked in the garage, as well as met with several members of the NASCAR media who congratulated him on a strong performance.

Lupton Swag Coming Soon: In the coming weeks, Lupton will unveil new Dylan Lupton Racing swag, where fans can have the opportunity to win the new items with various contests through his Twitter (@LuptonDylan) and his Facebook page (Dylan Lupton Racing).

Pretty Stout At Turning Left And Right: Lupton has prior road course racing experience in the NASCAR K&N Pro Series West at Brainerd (Minn.) International Raceway, Sonoma (Calif.) Raceway and Miller Motorsports Park respectively. In five starts overall between the three road courses, Lupton has achieved four top-fives and five top-10 finishes, including a personal best of second last September after starting third at Miller Motorsports Park.

XFINITY Debut: Lupton made his NASCAR XFINITY Series debut at Phoenix (Ariz.) International Raceway in March for the Axalta Faster. Tougher. Brighter. 200. With prior experience at the 1.0-mile track in the NASCAR K&N Pro Series West Series, Lupton arrived at the track highly optimistic. Lupton had a solid showing, qualifying 23rd and finishing a respectable and competitive 19th.

Subsequently, Lupton has made additional NXS starts at Richmond (Va.) International Raceway, Chicagoland Speedway, New Hampshire Motor Speedway, Iowa Speedway and most recently Mid-Ohio Sports Car Course.

Chassis Intel: Veteran crew chief Mike Ford has elected to bring Athenian Motorsports chassis number 004 to the 4.05-mile road course this weekend. The team will utilize chassis number 002 as its backup. The primary vehicle is the same automobile that teammate John Wes Townley utilized at Watkins Glen (N.Y.) International earlier this month before experiencing engine failure. Chassis 002 last competed in the NASCAR XFINITY Series event this spring at Richmond (Va.) International Speedway with Lupton at the helm.

Look What I’ve Done: For the past two seasons (2013 and 2014), Lupton has competed in the NASCAR K&N Pro Series West Series driving for Sunrise Ford Racing. In the two years driving the No. 9 Ford Fusion, Lupton notched two wins, 13 top-fives and 26 top-10s in 29 races. After finishing fifth in points in 2013, Lupton battled Greg Pursley for the championship last year, but fell short and finished second.

Member Of Elite Class: In May, Lupton was announced as one of 12 drivers in the NASCAR Next program. The 2015-2016 class marks the second year that Lupton has been a part of the program. NASCAR Next, an evolution of the Next9 initiative that began in 2011, 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.

XFINITY Schedule Set: In addition to Phoenix, Richmond, Chicagoland, New Hampshire Motor Speedway, Iowa Speedway, Mid-Ohio Sports Car Course and Road America (Wisc.), the two-time NASCAR K&N Pro Series West winner is also scheduled to appear in the No. 25 Zaxby’s Chevrolet Camaro in at least one other race, at Kentucky Speedway (September).

Lupton is working hard to add additional NASCAR XFINITY Series races to his platter before the end of the season on November 21 at Homestead-Miami (Fla.) Speedway.

It’s Not Just Fast Food, Its Zaxby’s: Zaxby’s will plaster its colors on the No. 25 Chevrolet Camaro this weekend at Road America (Wisc.). Zaxby’s is the primary sponsor for Lupton’s Athenian Motorsports teammate John Wes Townley.

An alternative to fast food, Zaxby’s offers its guests prepared-at-order Chicken Fingerz, Traditional or Boneless Wings, sandwiches, Zalads and Zappetizers, along with a variety of nine sauces ranging from Wimpy and Tongue Torch to Nuclear and Insane. Childhood friends Zach McLeroy and Tony Townley hatched the Athens, Ga.-based chain in 1990 to provide a fun, relaxing atmosphere that would keep guests coming back for more. The company ranked number seven in the 2012 Top 10 Excellent Large Fast-Food Chains With 500 or More U.S. Units Quick-Track study published by Sandelman & Associates.

The chain also ranked number five in the nation for total sales and number one in the chicken segment in the 2012 Top 150 Fast-Casual Chain Restaurant Report published by Technomic. In honor of the thousands of children the restaurant chain serves every year, Zaxby’s is a proud supporter of Make-A-Wish. The company operates more than 600 locations in 13 states, including Alabama, Arkansas, Florida, Georgia, Indiana, Kentucky, Louisiana, Mississippi, North Carolina, South Carolina, Tennessee, Texas and Virginia.

Athenian Motorsports, Road America (Wisc.) Pre-Race Quotes:

Dylan Lupton, driver of the No. 25 Zaxby’s Chevrolet Camaro:

On His Most Recent NASCAR XFINITY Series Race At Mid-Ohio Sports Car Course: “I’m still pretty pumped up over our performance at Mid-Ohio a couple weeks ago.

“It wasn’t a perfect race, but we made the best of the opportunity at hand. I made some mistakes during the race and it probably cost us a position or two at the end of the race, but I’ll know what not to do to avoid losing spots for our Athenian Motorsports team this weekend.

“To be as competitive as we were at Mid-Ohio Sports Car Course was a big boost for our team. I’m proud of Mike (Ford, crew chief) and all the guys on the Athenian (Motorsports) team for giving me such a good race car. I’m hoping we’re able to back-up or better our on-track result Saturday at Mid-Ohio.”

On Outlook For Road America (Wisc.): “I feel like we have some attention on our team this weekend and that’s not a bad thing. I’ve worked hard to hone my skills on the track, but I want to prove that our Athenian Motorsports team is much more than a top-10 team, I believe we can run in the top-five and contend for the win under the right circumstance.

There’s a good chance of rain on Saturday, so we might have similar circumstances that the race had last year, so we’ll just have to wait and see what happens. I don’t have much experience in the rain, just some local Legends car racing and such. We’ll just have to adjust accordingly based on the weather conditions.”

On Goals At Road America (Wisc.): “I had a good feeling if we did everything right, we would have a top-10 finish at Mid-Ohio. We accomplished that.

“This weekend, I’m putting a lot of pressure on myself to go out there and do a good job again for Mike (Ford, crew chief) and the entire Athenian Motorsports team. I’ve never been to Road America (Wisc.), but I’m hoping that I can adapt to it quickly and put ourselves in a good rhythm.

“To pull off a similar run or better our ninth place from Mid-Ohio is not going to be easy. Not only do you have to take care of your car, but you have to take care of the brakes, transmission and be sure to keep an eye on your fuel gauge. With Road America being the longest track on the circuit, any problem on the track can be disastrous.”

On His Impressive Road Course NASCAR K&N Record: “We’ve been lucky, but we’ve also been good. I truly enjoy the fundamentals of road course racing. I work hard to be a good race car driver at any type of track, but road course racing for whatever reason has really become my niche. I know I’ll continue to learn this weekend and hope we’re able to have a good finish in the process.”

On Being A Returning Member Of NASCAR Next Program: “I’m very honored to be a returning member of the NASCAR Next program. The NASCAR Next program has taught me a lot as I continue my journey to the top of the sport. I’ve embraced every opportunity that the program has offered and it’s really been influential in my quest to learn the ins and outs of the sport.”

PRIOR RESULTS:

Dylan Lupton, Road America (Wisc.) Prior Performance Record:

Lupton has no prior starts at Road America (Wisc.), Saturday’s Road America 180 Fired Up By Johnsonville will mark his NASCAR XFINITY Series debut at the historic road course.

The Road America 180 Fired Up By Johnsonville (45 laps / 182.16 miles) is the 23rd of 33 races on the 2015 NASCAR XFINITY Series schedule. The first practice session of the weekend begins on Friday, August 28 from 1:30 p.m. to 2:25 p.m. A final practice session has been etched in closer to race conditions later in the day from 3:30 p.m. –- 4:55 p.m. Qualifying is set for race day, Saturday, August 29 scheduled to lift off at 11:15 a.m. The 40-car starting field will take the green flag shortly after 2:00 p.m. with live coverage on NBC Sports Network (NBCSN), the Motor Racing Network (Radio) and SiriusXM NASCAR Radio (Satellite Radio, Channel 90. All times are local (Central).

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