Dylan sitting on the ground in post tech inspection had this to say, “Lots of ups and downs, ending with an up. Race was uneventful but had to stay focused every single lap and not make a single mistake to keep the 177 held off.” The day’s heat and the long green flag runs had worn on Dylan. He had just run a 100 lap race where most of it he had to be ‘up on the wheel’ to keep his position.
With summer heat here to stay, the crew got the #7 Blackwater Super Late Model unloaded and ready for practice. The wiring issues had been fixed and everything looked good to go. By the last practice session out, Chad Pierce the crew chief had the car within two tenths of fast time. Dylan was happy with the handling of his car and was off to the driver’s meeting. The track starts it off with prayer for safety for the drivers, crew members and fans. The race director is very direct when he talks about rough driving and jumping the restarts.
The sixteen Super Late’s get lined up for qualifying. Dylan will be 4th to go out. Chad talks to him for a few minutes on the radio before his turn. Dylan fires up the engine and pulls onto the track. Quickly warming up the tires, he drives hard down into turn 3 to be at full speed as he comes out of 4 to take the green flag. He lays down a pretty quick lap, a 13.685 second lap. When all was done and said that time earned him 7th fastest time. Not the starting position he wanted but when 2nd through 7th were within .08 seconds, he knew they were all right there.
The crew then had some down time to eat. Smokin’ Jim’s always supplies a great meal for them. With sliced turkey and pulled pork, the guys were smiling and now rejuvenated. They were ready for race time. Dylan and the other 15 drivers pulled out onto the front stretch for their autograph session. After being interviewed by Speed 51, Dylan shook hands and signed autographs. This is the one time of the night that you will always see Dylan smiling. He loves the opportunity to thank the fans for coming out and meeting new faces.
As the announcer asks to clear the front stretch and the drivers to get buckled in, Michael, Dylan’s father walks over to him and gives him his good luck speech. There is a tradition between this father and son…Michael always locks in the window net and gives him a last ‘go get ‘em’. The spotter and crew chief asks for a radio check. Everyone is on and ready to go.
It is almost 9pm when the green flag drops. Dylan is actually starting 4th due to the #64 dropping to the rear of the field. With Dylan starting on the outside and his line not moving forward, it only takes a couple laps for the #42 and #5 to pass him. The field is single file now and Dylan settles in at 6th. By lap 4, he starts to work to the inside of #42 and they run side by side for a couple laps before Dylan takes the spot. The field runs this way for a while. The car looks smooth through the corners and Dylan’s times show that as he hits a 13.58 second lap on lap 10 (faster than pole time). Lap 16, Dylan laps the #1 car. Chad comes across the radio, “You are looking good kid, keep hitting your marks.”
Lap 26, Dylan laps the #1 car again. The entire field is single file. Chad tells him “to keep digging”. He laps the #97 and #58 by lap 36. Dylan has to be aware of lap traffic as he laps the #1 car again. The first caution flag drops on lap 56 for the #58 car. Dylan restarts 9th with the cone rule in effect. It doesn’t take a few laps for the next yellow to come out. Chad and Dylan discuss over the radio what to do on this next restart. Dylan decides to jump to the outside for the restart. He is restarting 2nd. The whole field is bunched up tight as they take the green on lap 62. Dylan get hit going into turn 1 and it gets him sideways. He quickly gathers his car back up but only after the #23s and #5 get by him.
Lap 70, Dylan gets under the #42 to take the 4th place spot. His times have slowed up but he continues to pull away from the #177. As the tires start to fade, the #177 catches Dylan and now is all over his rear bumper. He is trying everything to get around Dylan. There are even a few times he tags him in the rear. Dylan is not going to hand over his position that easy. He is driving the wheels off the #7 to keep his place. With 5 laps to go, Dylan has pulled away from the #177 to give himself a couple car lengths. When the checkered flag drops, Dylan Martin, the 17 year old from Lakeland has earned himself a 4th place finish, just outside a podium finish.
Dylan will be racing all eight races in the Auburndale Sunoco 100 series. He is currently 2nd in points, tied with Steve Dorer with 81 points. He is only 7 points out of first. So mark your calendars for the next Sunoco 100 lap race at Auburndale Speedway on May 9th. It will be another fender rubbing, paint swapping, high energy race!
Thanks to all the fans that come out to support Saturday night racing! Also much gratitude to all the people and businesses that support Dylan and his team. The DMR team has gathered the best. This bunch is full of knowledge, passion and dedication and will continue to work hard to keep Dylan up front!
To stay updated with all of Dylan’s events and races go to www.DylanMartinRacing.com
(Photos by Ciara Martin & Press Release Credit to Kim Scheffler)