CORONA, California – Dylan Cappello said that when he looks back at the inaugural Winter Showdown a year ago he remembers that it “was nice. I enjoyed it.”
Cappello won the race, and the $4,000 that went with the victory in the 75-lap contest for the Lucas Oil Modifieds at Kern County Raceway Park in Bakersfield, California, and that obviously has a lot to do with the level of his enjoyment. It’s probably why he’s also looking forward to this year’s Showdown on Saturday(February 27).
The race is run using the rules of the Lucas Oil Modified Series presented by LoanMart and is administered by series officials, but it is not a part of the points championship. It is one of the lucrative special events that bookend the 10-race title fight and, as such, offers the drivers both a financial windfall ($5,000 to win, $400 to start, over $25,000 in all) and an extended test session.
The opportunity to test holds added attraction, too, as the series will return to the ultra-fast half-mile oval for round eight of its championship on September 17.
Last year, because the Winter Showdown was a late addition to the Modified schedule and rain put a damper on the weekend, only 14 cars took the green flag for the race that 2014 series champion Cappello won over past NASCAR state champion Scott Winters and reigning series champion Austin Barnes.
This year there were 27 names on the early entry list and more than 30 cars are expected for practice Fridayafternoon and the race day festivities on Saturday, when single-car qualifying at 3:30 p.m. will set most of the 30-car field for the 80-lap race. That will get under way about 6 p.m. and be divided into two 40-lap segments wrapped around the qualifying races for the Super Late Models that will run 250 laps on February 28.
Bubba Pollard, who took home the $25,000 winner’s check last year, has made the trip from Georgia to try for two in a row in that race.
Cappello, Winters and Barnes are back with the Modifieds, along with race winners Matthew Hicks, Shelby Stroebel, Kyle Tellstrom and Taylor Miinch.
Cappello and Garcia Racing teammates Peyton Saxton and Blaine Perkins tested at the track a few days ago and Cappello said the track “seems about the same” but “I don’t know if it’s a little slower or what but the (lap) times weren’t there.
“I think it’s mostly a momentum track,” said Cappello, who is a sophomore at Northern Arizona University. “You’ve got a long straightaway so you want a lot of power but you also need handling so you’re not scrubbing off a lot of speed in the corners. It’s about the same as Las Vegas (The Bull Ring at Las Vegas Motor Speedway) or Irwindale (California) Speedway.”
That bodes well for Cappello and Miinch, who won at Las Vegas last season, and for Barnes, who has won four in a row at Irwindale.
Then it will be home to repair and refresh the cars and get ready for the first of the 10 championship races, at Havasu 95 Speedway in Lake Havasu City, Arizona, March 19.
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-NAPA, BILSTEIN Shocks, Super Clean, 4-Wheel Parts and LoanMart.
Additional sponsorship is provided by Lucas Oil Products, Protect the Harvest, MAVTV Motorsports Network, Lucas Oil Racing TV, Hoosier Tire West, Sunoco Race Fuels, Aero Racing Wheels, ASI Racewear, Five Star Race Car Bodies, Frank’s Radios, Racing Plus-Parker Pumper, EFI University, Joe’s Racing Products, Scribner Plastics, Fast EZ-EFI System-COMP and DJ Safety.
Detailed information on the series is available at www.LucasOilModifieds.com.
-Lucas Oil Modifieds Press Release. Photo credit: Speed51.com