By Jano Tantongco
Dylan Slepian is like many college students. He’s passionate about his dreams, studying economics at Stony Brook University as a senior. He’s making a dive into the entrepreneurial world by starting his own business with a friend.
But the 21-year-old native of Dix Hills also has a passion few share. He’s a competitive racecar driver.
“Racing is something that’s kind of becomes your passion the same way that any other sport would. It’s an unparalleled mixture of pure athletic ability with the drive and your mechanical ability,” Slepian said. “Wrapping that all together, then you have to go out perform, and be on the spot, and be side-by-side with somebody, and getting every inch that you can.”
Most recently, Slepian won the Modified Crate class 40-lap race at Riverhead Raceway on July 23.
He said that many racers begin with competitive go-kart racing, but Slepian skipped a step. He began his racing career in 2010, when he was 14, starting with the Legends class.
But, even before that, he started in 2008 with the iRacing simulator. His parents, Karyn and Alan, saw that he quickly became skilled at it. Together, the family decided to invest in a 1934 Ford coupe body style Legend car.
Slepian explained that Legends tend to be for beginners, but the car’s overpowered nature, coupled with hard compound tires make it difficult to master.
“They’re actually probably the most difficult car to be successful in because there’s so much competition,” he said.
Slepian’s recently made the move up to the Modified class of cars. He built a Legend from the ground up, likening it to his “child.” Strapped into his hand-built vehicle, he won the Legends championship last year. But, he sold it at its peak value to dive into the Modified class.
In the classroom, Slepian initially went entered college with the goal of studying engineering, as many racers do. But, he soon found that it wasn’t as practical and hands-on as he would like, and turned to economics.
This past summer, Slepian founded Stout Field Coating, an asphalt field coating business, with his friend, Kyle Soper. He added that they’ve always been working labor jobs, such as flooring and landscaping, to help pay for their cars. So, they are turning that experience into profit.
“I like to think that the racing in some capacity gives me a lot of real-world managerial experience, being able to manage all the different components of what makes a successful operation happen,” he said. “I myself, am more driver, owner, crew chief combination.”
Slepian is currently in the midst of two battles for the championships in both the Legends and Modified divisions. In the Legends, he stands in third place. As for the Modified, he’s in second, neck and neck with the leader. The respective divisions have three races left, with the series closing mid-September. For scheduling, visit Riverheadraceway.com.