When the season began, many people in the NASCAR K&N Pro Series West had never heard of Dylan Kwasniewski. The Las Vegas driver, who celebrated his 16th birthday last week, is quickly making a name for himself, however.
"Young driver looks forward to racing on home turf"
He finished fourth in his series debut at All American Speedway in Roseville, Calif., in April and registered another strong finish in last month's NASCAR K&N Pro Series East-West combination race at Iowa Speedway. He has moved to 12th in the championship standings and has taken the lead in the chase for this year's Sunoco Rookie of the Year Award, despite not competing in the season opener.
Now the series heads to Kwasniewski's home turf - The Bullring at Las Vegas Motor Speedway - for the O'Reilly Auto Parts 200 on Saturday, June 11. The .375-mile oval is where he raced in the Bandolero, Legend car and Charger divisions before moving up to the NASCAR Whelen All-American Series Super Late Models, where he competes this year when not traveling with the NASCAR K&N Pro Series West.
"I'm really looking forward to racing the K&N Rockstar/Royal Purple car at my home track," Kwasniewski said. "I have a lot of laps there and think that definitely gives me an advantage. I've won races in just about everything at The Bullring. I think I can win in the K&N car next."
In making his move to the NASCAR K&N Pro Series West this year, Kwasniewski teamed with veteran West Coast driver Greg Pursley at Gene Price Motorsports. The expanded two-car effort by the Arizona-based team has met with success for both drivers. While Kwasniewski has established himself in the series, Pursley has become a dominant force - scoring three wins in the first four races and building a sizable lead in the championship standings.
"We were talking to Gene about running five K&N West races after I turned 16, when NASCAR announced the age rule change; so we switched gears and Gene pulled together an amazing team for me," Kwasniewski said. "The competition in this series is tough and I knew I needed to be with the best team if I was going to be successful on the track. I can't think of a better place for me to be for the next couple of years while I climb the NASCAR ladder."
A total of 21 drivers have earned Sunoco Rookie of the Year points through the first four NASCAR K&N Pro Series West races.