In only his fifth ever motor race of any kind, Group-A Racing Development Driver, Dillon Newell, earned his first career podium in race one. He would back that up with his first career pole in day 2 which was also a new track record. Lastly, capped that up with his first career win!
Dillon Newell joined the Group-A Racing Development Program in January of 2019, having never driven any kind of motorized vehicle before. After completing his first Lucas Oil School that January, he entered his first ever race the following month in the Lucas Oil Formula Winter Series. From there, he competed in the final 3 events of the Lucas Oil Formula Series in the 2019 season, showing tremendous progress and development at a very rapid rate. This all took place under the management and development of Jonathan Scarallo and the Group-A Racing Driver Development Program.
In preparation for his first full season of auto racing in the 2020 Lucas Oil Formula Series, Dillon entered the winter warm-up event at WeatherTech Raceway Laguna Seca. This was only his 5th ever race event, ironically taking place on the exact anniversary of his first race event 1 year prior at WeatherTech.
It was a two-day event format with each day consisting of 1 practice, 1 qualifying and a race. Newell came in a bit behind having not participated in the extra lapping days earlier in the week due to school commitments. Despite playing catch up, Dillon put in a good performance to earn his best qualifying result of 3rd position. In the race Dillon got a great start to immediately jump up to second and on the leader’s gearbox. Newell put extensive pressure on the leader for the first half of the race, looking for a way past. They would catch some lap traffic, which didn’t go his way, causing a gap to appear between him and the race leader. The gap maintained for the remainder and Dillon would come home with his first career podium with a second-place finish.
Overnight Dillon and Group-A Racing Driver Development Coach Jonathan Scarallo kept working to grind out details so he could come back stronger on the second day. Dillon did an excellent job executing all the details he was taught, to blitz the field with a fantastic lap to take the pole and set a new track record for the Lucas Oil Formula Series! In the race, Newell got a good jump to maintain the lead but now he had yesterday’s winner haunting him around the scenic 2.238 mile WeatherTech Raceway. With the roles reversed, Dillon was doing a great job of being mistake free and making his car appear wide, making life difficult for his rival. At exactly the half way point, Newell lost the lead going into the Andretti hairpin. He wasn’t fazed by it and instantaneously attacked the leader to re-claim the lead 3 corners later with a sharp move into turn 5. From there Dillon continued to be calm and click off fast laps to claim his first career victory in only his 5th ever race event, a great result after some rapid development from the young New Yorker.
“It was an incredibly good weekend for me,” said Dillon Newell. “I think that the work being put in through the 2019 season could not have been possible without Jonathan’s help. Leading up to this race I have had an interesting season with some great progress being made and some good performances. It really got all wrapped up together on race 2 of the 2020 Lucas Oil warm up race. My qualifying was very strong which got me my first pole position of my career and first track record. The race which followed was even more exciting for me because I had to work and fight for the position the entire race. I was racing with some very good drivers and one in particular, who would not shake off my tail. We had a great battle to the finish but once I saw the checkered flag it all came together. The excitement, the joy, and all the hard work and dedication finally paid off! I have to thank all of the staff and instructors at Lucas Oil School Racing School for all of the help and dedication that they have given me. My coach Jonathan Scarallo with Group-A Racing who has been with me throughout my entire racing career, and of course my mother who makes this all happen for me. I cannot wait for the upcoming season with Lucas Oil and am excited to see the growth and improvements that I will make this season!”
“I am beyond thrilled and excited for Dillon,” commented Group-A Racing’s Jonathan Scarallo. “He has worked hard with me on and off track, which is why we have seen such a rapid development rate from him. We did a lot of prep work on the simulator ahead of time, specifically on race craft leading into this event and it obviously paid off massive dividends. It was super rewarding watching him defend and attack in the second race because he was doing everything he was taught by us on the simulator during our prep work. He has done a good job of instantly applying everything he’s taught, which is why we have seen such a great rate of development.”