The last year and a half has been a series of “fortunate” events for 20 year old Kyle Tellstrom. The fourth generation race car driver from Ukiah, CA has been turning heads in that time competing in the highly competitive Lucas Oil Modified Series. Looking back, Tellstrom dedicates two major events early last year that have put him in the position he is I today, sitting atop the Lucas Oil Modified Series for the first time.
In 2014, Kyle and his family owned team led by grandfather Al Vogel made five LOMS starts in seven attempts. The highlight of that season was the season finale at the LVMS Bullring where the team picked up their first top 5 finish. “We rushed to get a car in time to make the season opener and were not even close to being prepared to take on the best touring series in the country. It was a huge learning curve, not just for me but for my grandfather as well.”
When the New Years bell rang for 2015 Tellstrom didn’t have plans to return to the LOMS. During the early stages of building a brand new car that was planned to run closer to home, Kyle recieved a season changing phone call in late January. That phone call was from Josh Thieriot, owner of Forward Investments, a property management company based in Reno, NV. Tellstrom said “He (Thieriot) told me he wanted to see me get another shot at the LOMS” From that point on it was a mad dash getting ready for the first race.
In between that period of time another huge event took place, one that still means a lot to Kyle. “I was walking out the back door of our family business when I got the call from Joes Racing Products owner Joe Constance, getting awesome news that I had been selected to be a #TeamJOES sponsored drivers for 2015”. That sponsorship played out to be a huge part of the entire 2015 season, not just the product support but the exposure it brought to Kyle and his team.
As every race team finds struggle throughout the season, the first half of the Lucas Oil Modified Series schedule did not pan out the way Kyle Tellstrom had hoped. Sitting deep in the points standings and only two top ten through five races. The team turned to Steve Teets at STR for shock and setup help, from that point on Tellstrom was a threat the rest of the season.
October 10th, 2015 is the day all the hard work payed off during the ninth stop of the Lucas Oil Modified Series. Tellstrom started on the pole, led all 75 laps and dominated at Loan Mart Madera Speedway in Madera, CA. It wasn’t only his biggest win, the $5,000 check was also the series higest payed point even in series history. “Finally winning with the series was ten times better than I could have ever imagined.” It was a big win for the small team. They went on to finish a respectable 8th in series standings and were the only new winner in the 2015 season.
Fast forward to present day. Kyle is driving for Creevan Racing, a newly formed team owned by Mike Creevan. Together they have put up career best qualifying and finishing efforts at every track. Last weekend, June 11th, 2016, Kyle won his second career Lucas Oil Modified Series race. Making it his second consecutive win at Loanmart Madera Speedway with the series and taking over the championship points lead. “The whole last year and a half feels so surreal. I cannot thank Josh Theiriot, Joe Constance and my Grandfather for everything. I never thought in my wildest dreams I would be able to to attend a University and be racing full time for a race team at twenty years old. I have so many people to thank for getting me where I am today.” Kyle has said there’s been a lot of great people that have influenced him over the years. Short track stars such as Derek Thorn who told Kyle to shake as many hands as possible because you never know where they may take you. “It feels good to say I’ve made it this far the right way. No matter where I end up I will forever remember the journey to this point, I wouldn’t change a thing.”
-Kyle Tellstrom Racing Press Release. Photo Credit: Speed51.com photo