Las Vegas driver hits jackpot in K&N race

Jeff Birchfield • Mar 16, 2013 at 8:04 PM

BRISTOL — Dylan Kwasniewski drove away from the field in the final laps of the Drive4COPD 125 NASCAR K&N Pro Series race at Bristol Motor Speedway, giving Las Vegas drivers a sweep of Saturday’s racing action.

The 17-year-old followed suit after fellow Las Vegas native Kyle Busch won the Nationwide Series race earlier in the day.

“With the Busch brothers, hopefully one day I can be racing against them,” Kwasniewski said. “They’re from Vegas and obviously took that right career path. So have him win and have me win and both of us from Vegas proves the West Coast drivers have a lot of talent and a lot of skill.”

Kwasniewski, the defending champion of the K&N West Series, drove his Chevrolet from a fifth-place starting spot to the victory. He beat runner-up Brett Moffitt by a 1.232-second margin of victory.

Used to racing on flatter tracks, there was some adjustment to Bristol’s high banks. However, he said a fast car more than compensated for his lack of experience.

“That thing was on rails,” Kwasniewski said. “I couldn’t ask for anything better. It was an awesome race and it was fun battling at the end. I’m 17 and I’m having the time of my life out here. To win at a place like Bristol, there is nothing like it.”

Moffitt, a 20-year-old Iowa native who serves as a test driver for Michael Waltrip Racing, finished 32nd at Bristol a year ago with mechanical problems. He was excited for his reversal of fortunes.

“We had a rough start last year,” Moffitt said.“We came here saying if we can just beat what we did last year, and that’s what we did. It’s great to come out of here with a second-place finish.”

Ryan Gifford, a 23-year-old African-American driver from Winchester and a member of NASCAR’s Drive for Diversity program, pushed his Toyota to a third-place finish.

Virginia driver Michael McGuire started the race from the pole and led the first 30 laps in this Toyota before hitting the inside retaining wall on the backstretch. He battled back from the back of the field to finish fourth.

CJ Faison rounded out the top five in a Chevrolet.

The 125-lap race was slowed by seven cautions which proved to be troublesome for East Tennessee drivers.

Knoxville driver Chad Finchum, who won the NASCAR Weekly Racing Series opener at Kingsport Speedway a week ago, was a victim of an early accident and finished 34th.

Sevierville driver Dylan Presnell finished 35th, also involved in an early incident, while Blake Jones finished last in the 36-car field after early engine trouble.

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