LAS VEGAS, Nevada (May 16, 2015) – It was mission accomplished for Dylan Cappello and the Garcia Racing team Saturday night.
The reigning champion of the Lucas Oil Modified Series presented by LoanMart hadn’t gotten off to the kind of start he had expected this season, finishing 11th and 12th in the first two races while trying to exterminate some new car bugs.
The team rolled into The Bullring at Las Vegas Motor Speedway determined to regain the form that had carried Cappello to two wins and the series title as a rookie in 2014. They did.
Cappello went out late in the qualifying session and took the fast time away from all-time qualifying leader Austin Barnes by lapping the 3/8-mile paved oval in 15.093 seconds.
The Peoria, Arizona, resident pulled a 7 for the invert, which left him on the inside of the fourth row when the 30-car field got the green flag for the Optima Batteries 75 Laps to Victory presented by Auto Meter. But 17 laps into a race fragmented by 11 caution flags Cappello took the lead from pole-sitter Eddie Secord and simply drove away from the field.
Cappello led the final 59 laps, sometimes by more than 3 seconds, and easily repelled the efforts of Chase Catania and Jason Irwin to ruin his evening. The Northern Arizona University student took the checkered flag 0.828 seconds ahead of Irwin after a green-white-checkered finish brought about when Matthew Hicks hit the Turn 2 wall hard after losing a wheel. Hicks was not injured in the incident.
Two-time series champion Jim Mardis was third, Doug Hamm fourth and Larry Gerchman fifth.
“The car just about drove itself,” Cappello said of the Discount Tire/BILSTEIN Shocks STR Chevrolet, who had won the championship by finishing third here in November.
Hoosier Tires West points leader Barnes ran up front early, then fell back after a spin in Turn 2 and finished 15 and relinguished the lead in the standings to Scott Winters, who finished 9th here after winning at Tucson (Arizona) Speedway five weeks ago.
The Optima Batteries 75 Laps to Victory was the third of the series’ 10 races and Cappello became the third different winner, with Barnes having won the opener at Lake Havasu City, Arizona, in March.
Next on the schedule is the Protect the Harvest California Farmers 75 presented by Super Clean June 6 at LoanMart Madera (California) Speedway.
LUCAS OIL MODIFIED SERIES
OPTIMA BATTERIES 75 LAPS TO VICTORY PRESENTED BY AUTO METER
THE BULLRING AT LAS VEGAS MOTOR SPEEDWAY
3/8- MILE PAVED OVAL
SATURDAY, MAY 16, 2015
Main event (75 laps) – 1. Dylan Cappello (11), Peoria, Az; 2. Jason Irwin (9X), Albuquerque, N.M.; 3. Jim Mardis (51), Yucaipa, Ca.; 4. Doug Hamm (4X), Las Vegas; 5. Larry Gerchman (25), Lake Havasu City, Az.; 6. Kyle Tellstrom (5K), Ukiah, Ca.; 7. Taylor Miinch (4T), El Cajon, Ca.; 8. Shelby Stroebel (24), Meridian, Ida; 9. Scott Winters (24A), Tracy, Ca.; 10. Jack Madrid (3X), San Clemente, Ca.;
11. Chris Cook (2), Tabiona, Utah; 12. Chase Catania (5C), El Cajon, Ca.; 13. Eric Hamilton (11H), Hanford, Ca.; 14. Eddie Secord (84), Oak Hills, Ca.; 15. Austin Barnes (51A), Escondido, Ca.; 16. Jason Patison (57), Corona, Ca.; 17. Jimmy Sloan (19J), Palm Desert, Ca.; 18. Travis Irving (85), Corona; 19. Pat Petrie (1), Henderson, Nev.; 20. Doug Carpenter (3), San Diego, Ca.;
21. Blake Rogers (4B), Yuma, Az.; 22. Dennis Thomas (93), St. George, Utah; 23. Dave Arce (5), Santee, Ca.; 24. Matt Hicks (28), Lakeside, Ca.; 25. Marty DeLuca (86), Las Vegas; 26. Dustin Tilbury (71X), Edgewood, N.M.; 27. Colby Potts (21), Stockton, Ca.; 28. Steven Durbin (15), Las Vegas; 29. Eric Rhead (66), West Jordan, Utah; 30. Linny White (55J), Colton, Ca.
Margin of victory – 0.828 seconds. Average speed – 24.204 mph. Caution flags – 11. Fast qualifier – Cappello, 15.093 seconds/89.445 mph.
B main (25 Laps) – 1. William Guevara (12), Lake Havasu City, Arizona; 2. Jeff Longman (211), Lehi, Utah; 3. Jerry Toporek (40), Venice, California; 4. Arce; 5. Hamilton; 6 Durbin; 7. Thomas (Arce, Hamilton, Durbin and Thomas transferred to the main event).
Margin of victory – 3.014 seconds. Average speed – 34.278 mph.
The Lucas Oil Modified Series presented by LoanMart is supported by a potent marketing concept known as “Team Lucas” whose members include General Tire, GEICO, E3 Spark Plugs, Optima Batteries, Carlyle Tools, Kawasaki, AutoMeter, iON Cameras, Speedco Truck Lube and Tire, BILSTEIN Shocks, LoanMart and SuperClean.
Additional sponsorship is provided by Lucas Oil Products, Protect the Harvest, MAVTV Motorsports Network, Hoosier Tire West, Sunoco Race Fuels, K&N Filters, Aero Racing Wheels, ASI Racewear, Bosch, Five Star Race Car Bodies, Frank’s Radios, Racing Plus and DJ Safety.
Detailed information on the series is available at www.LucasOilModifieds.com.
– Lucas Oil Modified Series Release
Photo Credit: Speed51.com