This week for garage pass I drove out to meet up with Dylan Estrella and his dad, Barry, at their garage in Berkley, MA. Dylan has been going to the shop where his Everett’s Auto Parts Late Model is now garaged since a very young age and surprisingly he wasn’t always into racing. Being one of the most well-known names of the new generation at Seekonk Speedway you would think that racing has always been his number one goal. After a while it grew on him and he has become a force to be reckoned with; numerous wins in numerous divisions and championships to match, Dylan and his entire crew (and family!) are looking forward to showing everyone in 2017 that they are not backing down and are hungrier than ever for another championship.
What is your hometown?
Dylan: North Attleboro, MA
How did you get your start in racing?
Dylan: I got started because my dad was working on Dick Houlihan’s Prostock, right here in this shop. It’s kind of where I grew up back when I didn’t really care for racing.
How would you define your 2016 season?
Dylan is your raining Late Model Champion and will be back in his Everett’s Auto Parts #46Late Model for the 2017 season.
Dylan: Definitely a successful year…again. Winning another Championship, a lot of wins, consistent car, always fast, we didn’t tear it up too much. We kept the fenders on it, so that’s always a good thing. We had a lot of fun especially at the end of the year.
Who is your biggest racing influence?
Dylan: Well obviously I would have to say this man right here (as he points to his dad). It’s definitely something to look forward to every Saturday, going there with him and getting to spend time with him and my family members that come to the track.
Everyone at the track knows that your paint scheme is sponsor driven, but what is the significance of the 46?
Dylan: It was Houlihan’s number when I was growing up. When I started I wanted to be the 1, but that was taken so I took the 46.
Are there any sponsors that you would like to thank for your 2016 season? What is new for 2017?
Dylan: We’re still with Everett’s this year and we would like to thank Bob and Roy for that. That’s all we have for sponsors, but we would definitely like to thank Bill Bernard for all that he has done for us over the past two years being the car owner and giving us the opportunity to race for him.
Barry: Bill wanted to cut back on his racing this year and we were fortunate enough that Everett’s wanted to continue to be with us and purchased a car for us. This used to be Greg Cotter’s car he only ran it about 3 or 4 times last year. That’s the reason we bought it; it’s the same style that we had. It’s a Crazy Horse Chassis; we’re going to put the same set up that we have used the last few years. We would also like to thank Bob Katon for letting us use his garage here at Berkley Auto Racing.
What are your expectations for the 2017 season?
Dylan: A championship again hopefully, win some races, maybe travel a little bit, and have fun. Keep the car in one piece.
Barry: That’s always been our motto race week to week and don’t set high expectations because you’re only setting yourself up for a big failure. Even when he was in the Minicup he knows it was to keep the car in one piece so you have a car to come back and compete with for another week and do it again.
Is there any race that you could do over which would it be and what would you do to make it better?
Dylan: If this were golf I could tell you a lot, but (with racing) I wouldn’t really do anything over. Well, it would probably be that double points night when we blew the motor that cost us the championship. I probably would have come off the track sooner.
Barry: It was in 2014 and the last Triple Crown Race and he was leading the points by a couple points over Bobby Pelland, he had a hole in the radiator and we didn’t know it. The motor started running hot and it was a double points night you really don’t want to pull off, but before he got a chance to pull off the track he blew the motor. We lost the points lead and ended up finishing second in the championship.
What do you remember most about your first race or first win?
Dylan: Well, I don’t really remember much about my first race but I know I finished 7th and that’s about it. My first win was in the Minicup it was the last race of the season, the DAV. I swapped the lead back and forth with Derek Anderson for a couple of laps.
Barry: That’s the biggest trophy we have, at time it was sponsored by Mike’s Minicup.
What ONE moment stands out the most to you from your time in racing?
Dylan: I would probably have to say the things that are going on now. Having a sponsor (Everett’s Auto Parts) that supplies things for you and believes in you and thinks you’re a good racer. Going from using used parts to having someone watching you from the stands and approach you wanting to be your sponsor. They make sure you have the right parts and that everything is in working motion and doing their best to make sure you have a fast car. It’s one of those things that when you’re a kid you dream about that. Just having someone that will supply and do anything for you; it really helps a lot.
Is it hard to have your car garaged away from home?
Though the Estrellas live in N. Attleboro, MA their car is garaged about a half hour away from home in Berkley, MA.
Barry: Well, we used to keep it in North Attleboro up til the last two years we had it up at Bill’s in Holliston, MA. The car was up at a friend’s house in N. Attleboro. For me, I did it for 14 years working on the Prostocks and working on the modified (for Dick Houlihan) in this garage and Bill’s was just as far, so I’m used to it. To come down here it is quite a haul, but it is nice to have a garage with as many resources as this. We are fortunate enough to have friends that let us use this. A lot of the time, if nothing big has to be done to the car (during racing season), we just go home with the car. We do have a small garage at home where we can do small things there.
Racing being your first…what is your second favorite sport?
Dylan: I’d have to say it’s a tie…definitely Golf and Lacrosse.
Barry: I used to pick Dylan up from the golf course on Friday nights to go racing. He was on the golf team and he had a meet or he’d be practicing and I’d show up at the golf course waiting for him to get done so we could go to the race track.
What keeps you coming back to Seekonk every week?…year?
Dylan: Just being able to race. Having the passion for it. Being able to do this with my family and friends. You know you’re going to see everyone on Saturday and all of the friends that I have made there.
Barry: It’s not as easy to go somewhere else; it’s right in our backyard.
The Estrellas are all about family and for them racing has always been just that…Family Time. I remember being at the track years ago when Dylan was in the Minicups and I really can’t remember what had happened, but his mom, Deb, was near me in the stands (as always I was taking pictures) and I remember her being really excited about what was going on and telling me that was her son out there on the track. I just remember how proud she was of him and even to this day in Victory lane she is always there prouder and happier than ever for her son. Family is such a huge part of the basis of what racing is and it is amazing to see how much Barry, Deb, Dylan, and Brittany value the time they spend together at the track.