15-year-old Dippel passes ARCA tests, races on dirt

(TOLEDO, Ohio – Sept. 1, 2015) – When Tyler Dippel announced he had signed with Lira Motorsports to make his ARCA Racing Series presented by Menards debut at Springfield’s mile-dirt Sunday, there were some necessary steps he had to take before getting behind the wheel.

For one, Dippel, 15, had to enter and successfully compete in one of the ARCA Touring Series races. For another, he had to sit down and ‘interview’ with Joe Wells, ARCA’s Director of Race Operations and Administration. Wells also had to observe Dippel in an on-track test.

“We do that for the safety of the driver as well as the other drivers out on the race track,” Wells said. “We have to make certain the driver, especially at 15, is ready to handle a 3,400-pound stock car.”

Dippel passed his test, which took place at Friendship Speedway in Elkin, N.C., a .4-mile dirt track.

“I watch to see how well they have control of the race car,” said Wells, who will do about two or three such test observations a year. “It’s just a precaution. The teams are pretty good at knowing when they have a driver that is ready to compete at this level.”

On Saturday, the Wallkill, N.Y. native entered and competed in the ARCA/CRA Super Series powered by JEGS event at Baer Field in Fort Wayne, Ind. Dippel finished 10th in that touring series event, then hurried to southern Illinois for the ARCA Racing Series event.

“I was not at the ARCA/CRA event observing, but we have the touring series officials who tell us how they performed,” Wells said.

At the track, Dippel also had to go through a final process of ensuring his race equipment – from his fire safety suit to his helmet – met industry standards. The ARCA Safety Initiative takes care of those final observations.

Prior to Sunday’s SuperChevyStores.com 100, Dippel was only able to turn eight laps in the rain-shortened practice. Once the race got going, Dippel started 11th and was racing with the lead cars before eventually finishing 12th. He was in second place for numerous laps early in the race.

Dippel’s dirt racing career began with Slingshot race cars – scaled-down versions of Dirt Modified cars – at the age of seven.  Over a three year period, he won multiple races, culminating with the 2010 National Slingshot Junior Championship.  He transitioned from the Slingshots to Big Block Modifieds, as well as full size stock cars on asphalt in Pro All Stars Series (PASS) Super Late Model competition.  As a rookie, he held the PASS National points lead throughout the entire year until the very last race, when he was sidelined by a transmission issue. He finished in the runner up position in PASS National points standings, and in 4th in the PASS South Series standings.

He is expected to be back behind the wheel of  Lira Motorsports car for the Southern Illinois 100 presented by Federated Car care on Monday, Sept. 7.

“This race went really well for my first time out there,” said Dippel. “I was happy overall, but we didn’t get the finish this team deserved. I probably used up the tires racing up to second place... no doubt this was a top five car, and I feel like we’ll be even better in two weeks. We had a bunch of sponsors on the car that helped make my ARCA debut possible, so I really want to thank Mohawk Northeast, D &A Concrete Contractors, Prestige Plumbing and Heating, Tycar Trenchless Technologies  and Lebanon Valley Speedway, in addition to Lira Motorsports sponsors Momo, TraqGear and Ford Performance.”

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