Dylan Wins First Race of Season
Yes….Friends, family, sponsors and partners…that is your very own Dylan Martin standing in Victory Circle with his proud parents. So let me back up a little and take it from the beginning. The crew arrived Saturday to the track feeling good about the way the truck performed the night before in practice. But as everyone knows, in racing anything can and will happen. The track was over 140 degrees the first practice out, which made it a bit slick. Dylan wasn’t worried though he has one of the best crew chiefs around. Chad Pierce takes everything into consideration and made a few minor adjustments after the rain fell and the drivers meeting went long. Most people don’t realize that the some rain and the sun dropping a little later in the sky can change the track. Dylan rolled off 10th to qualify. It is one thing to have a crew chief that can set the truck up but when you add that to a driver that will push the truck to its limits, the result is a 14.84 second lap. That time put Dylan and his Blackwater Ford Raptor on the pole. Note this was not by a fraction of a second, but he was almost 2 tenths faster than second place. In the racing world, “he smoked the competition.”
After Dylan’s crew took the truck through inspection and across the scales, he drew a 0 for the inversion. This meant they would not invert any trucks for the race. It was to start straight up with Dylan on the pole. The crew did not have time to relax though because Dylan felt a vibration during the qualifying laps. Once the truck was back in the pit stall, Chad rallied his crew and got to work. With a few guys in the back of the truck, one under the truck and another under the hood, the issues were found and fixed.
Dylan is always quiet before the race, but this time was different. The intensity in his eyes as he strapped in was evident. He knew that after last week’s rain out at Bronson Speedway where he was clocked as the fastest truck, it was his turn. His turn to show his competitors what he and his team were capable of, respect and a win!
At 6:50pm, with the sun still shining, Dylan and 12 other trucks took to the track. As the #7 Blackwater Ford Raptor went into turn 3, Dylan took a deep breath, thanked God for the talents he has been given, tugged one last time on his belts and nailed the throttle coming out of turn 4 to take the green flag. They were side by side crossing the start/finish line but by turn 2, Dylan had a truck length on the #59 truck. For the next 9 laps, he steadily kept pulling away from the field. By lap 20, he was a straightaway in front of the second place truck, #4. First caution flag fell on lap 22, when the #4 truck spun coming out of turn 4. Now this is the first restart of the race, they are lined up side by side coming out of turn 4. Dylan has control of the field but he has to be careful not to jump the start. He has a great restart, and within a couple laps he has pulled another good lead. He is driving every lap like it his last. The crowd hears him pushing his truck to the limit as he hits the rev limiter ever lap.
Once the race hits lap 27, we have three cautions in a row. Dylan and his Blackwater #7 are getting lots of practice on restarting. At this point, Dylan finds himself lining back up with the points leader on the outside of him. This is only Dylan’s second year in the truck and the truck to his right has many more years of experience under his belt. These two trucks drive side by side for four laps, do you hear me…4 laps. Dylan stays focused and doesn’t give him an inch. On lap 32, Dylan finally gets ahead of the #41 truck. His young blood keeps him striving for more. By lap 38, he now has a three truck length advantage over the #41 truck.
Caution flags waves again on lap 40 for the #26 truck. After it is pushed into the pits, the field lines up for another restart. Dylan finds himself once again lined up door to door with the veteran driver of the #41 truck. Dylan’s truck is strong but he knows that the #41 is going to do everything he can to take the lead. As they come out of turn 4, they are neck and neck. Running as hard as they both can, they continue to run side by side for two laps, then the #41 gets Dylan a little sideways and gets by him. It takes the #7 Blackwater Ford a few laps to catch up with the #41 but when he does, he is all over his rear bumper. Dylan runs him hard into each corner, not giving him a second to breath. It is at this moment he remembers what his mentor David Reutimann told him last year, “Get up on the wheel boy” and that is exactly what Dylan does. With two laps to go, Dylan runs the #41 deep into the corner and puts a move on him to make the pass coming out of the turn. This veteran move comes from the 15 year old kid from Lakeland. The crowd jumps to their feet. They are screaming “Go Dylan Go! Dylan’s determination to be the best and to beat the best… works as he takes his first checkered flag by a half of a truck length. Dylan Martin and his #7 Blackwater Ford Raptor have won!!
In victory circle, Dylan can’t stop smiling. His gratitude to his parents, crew, fans and sponsors is the first thing that he says. After his victory pictures are taken and the truck has passed post-race inspection most drivers are through for the evening but not Dylan. At this time he was asked so what are you going to do now that you have won a race? Most say jokingly, I’m going to Disney, not Dylan. He smiles and says, “I’m going to the grandstands to sign autographs”. That my friends is why Dylan is so different than most drivers, he never stops thinking about his fans. Not only did he go over to the grandstands to do this, he walked up and down through the bleachers to shake hands and personally thank them for coming to the race. So after poising for some pictures, handing out coloring books, bracelets and over 200 autographed hero cards, Dylan’s night was then finished.
Dylan still smiling from ear to ear said these final words for the night, “What made this win possible was the outstanding performance from my team”. I would say that he has an incredible team that believes in him and his dream. Dylan will continue to race to make a difference!
Follow Dylan all year on www.DylanMartinRacing.com or Facebook: Dylan Martin Racing LLC