One of the best Modified drivers on the west coast will be making his Super Late Model debut on November 23 in Las Vegas. Dylan Cappello, the 2019 SPEARS Modified Series presented by Lucas Oil champion, has announced his plans to do double duty at the season finale at The Bullring at Las Vegas Motor Speedway (NV).
Cappello will compete in both the $10,000-to-win “Retro Custom Metals 150 presented by Pinnacle Peak Steakhouse” for the SPEARS SRL Southwest Tour Series and the “Lucas Oil 75 presented by FLUIDYNE High Performance” for the SPEARS Modified Series. It will be Cappello’s first start in a Super Late Model, and only his second event using a 10-inch tire.
With one event left in the SPEARS Modified Series, Cappello has clinched his second championship in the series, after scoring his initial championship in his 2014 rookie season. Having secured the championship, the opportunity to participate with the Super Late Model became a reality. Cappello will team up with 2019 Northwest Super Late Model champion Trevor Cristiani to make the occurrence a reality after competing against the Idaho driver earlier this season.
“About a month ago Trevor contacted me about running the car in Vegas, and we immediately wanted to make it happen,” Cappello said. “I've raced with Trevor in the Modified, and I know he runs really well in the Super Late as well, in the northwest. I'm really excited to work with him and see where we will stack up in a pretty solid field of cars.”
Cristiani recalled his thoughts about inviting Cappello to drive his personally-owned Super Late Model.
“I knew he had the opportunity a few years ago to run a K&N Pro Series car. Since he hadn’t run a stock car in a while, I felt he would be a good candidate to give it another shot. Also, being the points leader of the SPEARS Modifieds and wrapping up the championship with a race remaining is pretty impressive.
“In addition, with all that, I know he is a determined driver and knows how to get around The Bullring. Therefore, I felt I would bring the opportunity up to him. I was happy to hear he was on board right away. We have good equipment, and I feel Dylan and our team will be a good pairing to shoot for really good results with him behind the wheel.”
The opportunity to make a start in the SPEARS Southwest Tour Series is something Cappello has contemplated for some time. He feels that competing in a Super Late Model may be a good fit for his driving style, but realizes it may be tricky going from one type of car to another.
“I'm super excited to make my first start in a Super Late,” Cappello stated. “I have been watching these cars race for a long time now, and they look like a lot of fun to drive. I've been told my driving style is sometimes too aggressive for the Modified, so hopefully it will suit the bigger tire car better and I can really drive it hard. It will be a very different feel from the Modified, so making sure I am on my game for qualifying in both cars will be crucial.”
The first feature event of the evening will be in his SPEARS Modified Series ride, however. After claiming his first championship with the RBK Racing Team, Cappello is happy to complete a goal that he has shared with the team’s crew chief Dean Kuhn since the pairing.
“This championship is something really special to my team and I,” Cappello voiced. “After joining RBK Racing in 2016, Dean and I had a goal of winning a championship. We came close a couple times and won some races, but this year has gone very well for us. I just can't thank this whole RBK Racing Team enough for their continued support.”
With a worst finish of fourth in the Winter Showdown in February, it would be an understatement to say the year has been a success for the team. In eight events, “The Hitman” has four wins and six top-two finishes, while completing every lap of the season. Cappello finished third the first time the series visited Las Vegas, but feels the strength of the team will lead to an even better result this time around. He is always looking to cross the finish line first, and that drive, for both himself and the team, is one of the main reasons that Cappello feels the team has succeeded.
“I think the biggest factor is the focus on winning every race we show up to. The first four races of the year we were pretty good, but just a little off. Dean does a great job of looking at the notes, thinking about what we needed at the last visit to that track and applying this to the next race we show up to. It's a team effort and this team is awesome! We have a great system and it's working right now.”
Looking forward to his participation in the SPEARS Southwest Tour Series race, Cappello knows the competition will be stiff. He enjoys racing against the best competitors, and therefore he is excited to compete against four-time SRL champion Derek Thorn. He also hopes to learn a little something from the Super Late Model star.
“I am really looking forward to running with Derek Thorn. He is very talented in these cars, and I hope that I can get behind him at some point and learn a couple things from him.”
After the completion of the double header for the Modifieds and Super Late Models, Cappello will take the off-season to determine his plans for the 2020 season. Those plans may include a few more Super Late Model starts and more action in the cars he has become known for success in. But for right now, the slate is wide open for the Modified star.
“Right now, I have no plans for next year,” Cappello admitted. “Maybe I’ll run a couple more SLM (Super Late Model) races and Modified shows here and there. We will have to see how the off season goes, and what we can setup for 2020.”
Behind every successful racer, there are a group of people who make the team and driver better. Cappello is thankful for those who provide that result for him.
“I want to thank Team RBK, Quick Response Garage Door and Repair, PING Golf, West Coast Truck and Auto, Total Power Batteries, and my family for their continued support in my racing.”
On November 23, Cappello will be hoping to put a “Hit” on the competition, in both the SPEARS SRL Southwest Tour Series and the SPEARS Modified Series. If the season continues its current trajectory, drivers in both series will need to be prepared for “The Hitman” to run the table in “Sin City.”
Celebrating its 19th season in 2019, the SPEARS Southwest Tour Series is a regional stock car series competing on paved ovals in the southwestern portion of the U.S. “The SPEARS Southwest Tour Series…Where the Champions Race.”
-Story by: Kevin Peters, SRL
-Photo credit: SRL