West coast Modified standout Kyle Tellstrom will be bringing his No. 5k Howe/STR Chevy to the 2019 Winter Showdown at Kern County Raceway (CA) on February 1-2. Tellstrom is an infrequent visitor to the half-miles on the west coast, but he is a frequent visitor to Victory Lane. Tellstrom is an Ukiah, CA native but has relocated to Boise, ID after attending college and beginning work at PitstopUSA.com. His location will present Tellstrom with the biggest obstacle in his participation in the “51 FIFTY Energy Drink Modified Showdown” Saturday afternoon.
“The biggest challenge for us is getting to the track,” Tellstrom told the SPEARS Manufacturing Modified Series presented by Lucas Oil. “Since I'm still living in Boise, working for PitStopUSA.com, and our shop is in Ukiah, I have to make trips home to get the car ready. Fortunately my Grandpa is just as passionate, if not more than I am, about bringing a strong piece to the race track and running up front.”
Tellstrom began racing in the formerly named Lucas Oil Modified Series in 2014. Since that season, Tellstrom has captured a victory in each subsequent season. In 2018, he scored a win in the final Lucas Oil Modified Series (now SPEARS Manufacturing Modified Series) event at Rocky Mountain Raceway. He also has victories in the North State Modified Series as well as the Royale Purple Modified Series. Tellstrom finds himself as the only driver to have victories in all three of those Modified Series. In addition, he won in all three series in a single season in 2018.
In 2018, the fourth-generation driver also jumped into a Super Late Model for the first time. The former Ukiah Speedway (CA) Bandolero and Lakeport Speedway (CA) Mini Stock champion participated in the NAPA Big Five Series for Super Late Models at Meridian Speedway (ID) in a car owned by Lee Hackney. He won that championship with two victories along the way, including the Treasure Valley 125, which was his first Super Late Model win. A big 2018 season also found Kyle making his NASCAR K&N Pro Series West debut, but mechanical issues ended his run early.
Entering the 5th Annual Winter Showdown, the two-time Lakeport Speedway Extreme Asphalt Outlaws Champion will approach this event like he does every other event. He will be looking for a win, which he hopes will turn some heads in the SPEARS Southwest Tour Series garage.
“For me, this is just the next race on the schedule,” Tellstrom began. “Every race I show up to, I'm there to win and nothing else. I haven't raced on a lot of half mile stuff in my career. We've been strong and run up front at Irwindale (Speedway, CA) the last two times I was there. I haven't been to Kern with our current program (Kyle finished sixth in the Showdown, driving for Mike Creevan in 2016), and it's the best it has ever been. I would really like to pick up my first half mile win and maybe a few Late Model teams will be watching and give me a shot to run a tour race somewhere down the road.”
Tellstrom’s complete 2019 schedule is still to be determined, but he is thankful for those who are helping his program in 2019, as well as those who have contributed to his success in the past.
“I have a number of awesome people to thank,” Tellstrom said. “First and foremost, I can't thank my Grandpa (Al Vogel) enough for giving me so many opportunities the last 10 years. We have a special bond and there's is nothing better than working together at the track and winning races. Also the Constance Family and everyone at Joes Racing Products, they have done so much for me since 2015. I'm extremely proud to have them on my car.”
Kyle continued, “PFC Brakes has been behind me in a big way since 2016, and they have been a big reason for our on-track success. PitStopUSA.com, STR, K1 Race Gear, Bell Helmets, I Wear Multimedia, NorCal Powder Coating, Speed51.com, Mullins Racing Engines, Bert Transmissions, Swift Springs and Furia Motorsports are back on board for 2019. I look forward to further growing those relationships.”
The Modifieds will be in action on Friday with a couple of practice sessions and their 20 lap All-Star Race for those in the top-10 from the 2018 championship standings. Kyle will be participating in that event as well as a winner on the tour in 2018.
On Saturday, February 2, the Mods will practice and participate in the “SPEARS Manufacturing Modified Series presented by Lucas Oil Qualifying Session” at 1:00 p.m. Then the Mods will then run their feature event, the “51 FIFTY Energy Drink Modified Showdown” (75 laps) with $3,300 going to the winner. Tellstrom hopes that share will go into his pocket.
-Story by: Kevin Peters, SRL
-Photo credit: Kyle Tellstrom Twitter