Dylan Cappello

MADERA, California (June 26, 2018) – The SpillVak Triple Crown will begin in Bakersfield, California, this weekend and Dylan Cappello can’t wait to get there.

“I love it,” Cappello said of Kern County Raceway, the ultra-fast half-mile oval that will host the Lucas Oil Modifieds presented by MAVTV for the sixth time on Saturday (June 30). “It’s fast, it’s action-packed, it keeps everybody on their toes and I think it brings out the best in everybody.”

There will be an added incentive to do well this weekend, too. The 75-lap SpillVak Triple Crown 1 presented by GEICO on Saturday will be both round five of the 10-race championship season and the first of the three SpillVak Triple Crown races that offer $2,250 in bonus money to the top five in points in those three events only.

MAVTV the Motorsports Network will be recording the race for airing later.

The other SpillVak Triple Crown events will be at Irwindale (California) Speedway August 18 and The Bull Ring at Las Vegas Motor Speedway November 17.

Scott Winters won the inaugural triple crown at the same tracks last season, with Jason Irwin, Ryan Partridge, Doug Hamm and Cappello filling out the top five. Winters, Irwin and Cappello should be contenders again this year, especially at Kern County Raceway, where Cappello has a pair of wins and a third and Winters and Irwin had top five finishes in two outings last year.

When the Lucas Oil Modifieds made their most recent visit to Kern County last July 1 Cappello led all 75 laps and finished .396 seconds ahead of Irwin, who was followed by Taylor Miinch, Winters and Linny White.

Cappello said, “You’ve got to have a big motor; the more horsepower the better. You’ve got to have a real fast piece,” and it’s essential to be able to roll through turn four and quickly get back on the throttle to carry momentum into turns one and two, which Cappello calls a “crazy corner” where the wall comes up quick.

“You’ve got to log some laps and feel comfortable before you get the whole potential out of it (the track),” the Peoria, Arizona, resident said.

“The track’s not super hard on (the Hoosier 700) tires. Last year I think we went almost all the way from green to checkers (without a caution). The tires went away but it wasn’t like Tucson (Speedway) or Havasu (95 Speedway), where it’s like you’re on ice. I think about lap 65 I noticed they were really going away and by then me and Irwin had checked out (from the rest of the field). He was pushing me, and I had to make sure I didn’t use up the right rear so I could hold him off.”

Sometimes, however, doing everything right isn’t enough to guarantee victory. Cappello and crew chief Dean Kuhn got an unwelcome reminder of that three weeks ago at Madera (California) Speedway. Cappello was bidding for his second straight June win there and had a comfortable lead until a rod bolt broke and the engine in his RBK-STR Chevrolet blew up with five laps to go.

That ceded the victory to 2017 series champion Miinch, who has won the past five championship races and finished fourth, third, second and third in his four starts at Kern County.

“I’ve never had one of those break before” in more than 20 years of racing, Kuhn said. “We replaced them over the winter, but they’ve come out with a new thing over the last 10 years. It’s not torque anymore, it’s measuring and stretching. That’s what we’ll be doing from now on.”

Dealing with the emotional and mechanical wreckage from Madera was just part of what Kuhn said always is a detailed preparation process for Kern County “because of the speeds. We do a complete teardown (of the car) and look at all four corners to make sure everything is good and tight and in good working order.”

Kuhn was talking by telephone so there was no way to tell if he had his fingers crossed or not.

The SpillVak Triple Crown I will be the featured event on Kern County Raceway’s Bulwark FR All-American Saturday night. The program includes Super Stocks, Legends Cars, Bandoleros, Sr. and Jr. Mini-Dwarfs and Skid Plate Cars, followed by the Budweiser Salute to America Fireworks Spectacular.

Spectator gates will open at 4:30 p.m., there is an on-track autograph session at 6 and racing will get under way after opening ceremonies at 7 p.m.

Reserved seats are $20, general admission is $15 for adults and $12 for seniors, military personnel and youth 6 to 15.