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K&N Pro Series Rookie, Dylan Murry, Uses Greenville Pickens Speedway to Prove His Might

16 year old high school student Dylan Murry may well have the stuff he needs to go all the way

In just his fifth race in a car, Dylan Murry finished sixth in his first K&N Pro Series event

If in high school you were to draw the shape of the Greenville Pickens Speedway and submitted it to your teacher as a representation of an oval, it’s unlikely you would have received a passing grade. With four turns, each with its own radius, and front and back straights that aren’t parallel, it’s not the standard image of an oval racetrack that usually comes to mind.

Beyond just the shape of the track, there are even more challenges for the driver. The two straights are virtually flat and the turns are banked at only five degrees. In addition, the turns have been freshly repaved while the straights are covered in decades-old asphalt. So just as the driver starts to transition to power, the grip of the track surface changes greatly.

This background is provided so that you can better appreciate the feat of this young teenager from Georgia, who raced in his very first K&N Pro Series East race at Greenville Pickens Speedway this month, in only his fifth race in a car.

Sixteen-year-old Dylan Murry is like many young drivers who come out of a racing family. His father David was a championship road racer and now operates a track day and coaching business. Dylan caught the racing bug not from his dad’s insistence or encouragement, but from watching kart races and pressuring dad to allow him to start racing. “I wanted to make sure it was his passion and not mine,” dad, David, added emphatically.

The already tricky track became more difficult to master with paving in the turns only

Dylan enters a newly paved turn with the older asphalt straightway behind him

Dylan drove road racing karts for several years but then decided to pursue a career on ovals. He moved up into Legends where he cut his teeth in quarter-mile wheel-to-wheel competition. He managed to put together funding to drive in four Whelen Late Model races for Spraker Racing Enterprises last year, at two tracks – Caraway Speedway and Motor Mile Speedway, with the goal of breaking into the K&N series at Watkins Glen, to take best advantage of his road-racing background.

A quick aside: While Dylan’s racing has received some support from Tooth Life, Gliimpse, and The Gorsline Company, it's come mostly from his friends, fans, and other supporters through a GoFundMe campaign.

Dylan Murry, a high-school student from Georgia, has already impressed NASCAR with his driving 

Will Dylan Murry be among the drivers to replace fan favorites who are retiring, like Dale Jr.?

Because of the high speeds at Watkins Glen (160 mph up the backstraight) NASCAR wanted Dylan to first prove his ability in a more powerful K&N car on a shorter track. So the race at Greenville Pickens was chosen. The challenge of driving Greenville Pickens is well-known among short track racers in the south. The apex is up against the inside retainer wall, plus the changes in pavement and the mixture of radii of the turns. Not the place most drivers would select to put in a safe finish to receive approval to race at the faster tracks.

The only experience he’d had of the South Carolina track was a few laps in a street car. If the layout wasn’t intimidating enough (based on a clay horse track carved out in 1940), it’s also the second oldest NASCAR track still operating and where the legends of Richard Petty and David Pearson have at least some of their roots.

In the first practice session, Dylan was not surprisingly near the bottom of the order – 18th out of 19 cars. In qualifying Dylan moved up to 16th. Not what he’d been hoping for, but the race would take over an hour and Dylan knew he could learn more about the car, the other drivers, and the track as the race wore on.

With each lap of the race, Dylan began to find his pace. He learned that you lost speed late braking into the turns as the cars are actually coasting at the apex, and that power has to be applied judiciously as you transfer off the fresh asphalt of the turn and onto to aged surface of the straights. “In the last 25 laps I felt I had a good handle on the track,” Dylan would comment after the race.

Dylan utilized an online service to allow his supporters to make small individual contibutions

As a shout-out to those who supported him through GoFundMe Dylan carries the logo on the car

Dylan had moved up 9 positions during the race and finished an incredible sixth and top Rookie, in his Rette-Jones Racing Ford Fusion. To put accomplishment into context, the drivers who finished ahead of him have multiple K&N Pro Series races under their belts, or have raced in ARCA or the Camping World Truck Series. Not just four outings in a Late Model car.

For his performance, Dylan was awarded the Sunoco Rookie of the Race, Coca-Cola Move of the Race, and the Brembo Brake Through Challenge. The only award he didn’t receive was a first place trophy.

Because of his impressive performance at Greenville Pickens, Brett Bodine, head of NASCAR's Driver Approval Committee, has given Dylan the green light to race at not only Watkins Glen, but all tracks in the series, including the three other fastest tracks: Bristol, Dover, and New Hampshire.

So make sure to look out for this young man in the K&N Pro Series East race at Watkins Glen, and perhaps a few other races this year, depending upon the support he receives through his GoFundMe campaign.

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