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Kwasniewski picks up win, as NASCAR visits VIR

South Boston News
Dylan Kwasniewski takes the checkered flag at VIR in the NASCAR K&N Pro Series east race Saturday. (Randy Holmes photo) / August 26, 2013
Dylan Kwasniewski roared to the checkered flag in the Biscuitville 125 NASCAR K&N Pro Series East race at Virginia International Raceway Saturday, combining a number of elements essential to winning efforts.

Kwasniewski handled the green-white-checker that resulted in overtime Saturday.

Kwasniewski, who’s trying to soar to back-to-back championships (K&N West and East) also battled through some tricky driving conditions in OT, after speedy dry put down after an oil spill made things interesting for the drivers.

Kwasniewski also did an excellent job of saving his racing equipment and handled VIR’s technical aspects very well, dominating most of the race.

“It was awesome, couldn’t ask for a better race car,” he said. “The key to the race was definitely saving our stuff, making sure we had at the end.”

Kwasniewski, who pitted at lap 25 of the 57-lap event, also had a flawless experience there.

While some pit stops were an adventure (Cole Custer’s gang spilled fuel around his pit area, for instance), Kwasniewski’s team handled it well and shaved valuable time in the end.

“These last couple of years at road courses, we suffered on our pits. We’ve had a lot of bad luck. Everything went our way, this year, and this race,” said Kwasniewski.

He was also very pleased to land his first road course win, after posting an average finish of 3.75 in four road course starts last season in K&N West action.

The driver fans call Dylan K seems to be maturing as a driver.

“We can’t force the issue. We’ve got to be calm and we’ve got to be patient with what the track and what our cars give us. You’ve got to go out there with the mindset that you can win every race. That’s what we do every weekend,” said Kwasniewski, who has now won four K&N East races this year. “Sometimes the car doesn’t give it to us and the conditions may not give it to us.”

Kwasniewski held a lead of 0.9 seconds over eventual second place finisher Bryan Ortiz, one of four international drivers in the field, before Daniel Suarez blew up on lap 50. Track crews had to put down speedy dry to cover the oil laid down when the engine blew, but it made things interesting once the GWC flew, on lap 55.

“It was pretty much a sandstorm,” Kwasniewski said. “The guys on NASCAR were saying, it’s good. I’m like, ‘no its not good, I can’t even see out of the windshield. Luckily, they got it cleaned up pretty good.

“We were to try hardest to get ahead before we got to that speedy dry, and that’s what we did. We got a great restart, we got ahead before we got to that slippery stuff, so we could get a clean corner in turn one. It was smooth sailing from there. I made sure I kept the car under me,” said Kwasniewski.

“Those green white checkers can be a little hairy, but, luckily, we got a couple of car lengths on (Ortiz) and extended our lead a little bit,” he said.

Kwasniewski claimed the winner’s wing and showed all weekend why he’s generating considerable buzz in this circuit.

From the flawless pit stop to preserving his racing equipment - Suarez clearly got too edgy in that department and blew up later after grabbing an early lead - Kwasniewski certainly showcased his racing potential.

He now has four wins in 13 career starts in the K&N east. He also had the winning pole speed.

A NASCAR Entertainment TV crew followed every move during the weekend. Earlier, Kwasniewski, had anticipated how the race day might play out at VIR.

“The weather’s great today. We’ve got perfect conditions for a great race.

“The car’s handling really good. We tweaked on it a lot in practice yesterday and got it to where we were really confident with it. We did a mock run today and did some fuel mileage stuff.

He cited proper fuel mileage management as a key and also expected trouble near the end. Kwasniewski predicted some hairy racing at the end, and that’s what the race served up.

Suarez, from Monterrey, Mexico, took the point on lap 17 and led until Kwasniewski regained the lead on lap 29. Kwasniewski had previously finished fourth twice in road course stops in two previous seasons before the breakthrough performance Saturday.

Ortiz had a career-best second place finish at VIR, while Moffitt continued his consistency. It was his 33rd career top five finish in 57 career starts.

Kwasniewski led a race-high 39 laps en route to a dominating performance.

It was the first road course appearance for the series since Lime Rock in July 2010, and the first of two road course races for the K&N teams this season. The K&N Series will also make its inaugural visit to Road Atlanta on Oct. 18. The series returns to action Sept. 2 at Greensville (S.C.) Pickens Speedway.

The race featured three cautions.

Kwasniewski also continued his lead in the series, with a 28-point edge over Moffitt with five races remaining. Ben Kennedy is third in the points, 40 behind the leader.

The K&N series is a developmental level of NASCAR, and the harsh reality is that some of these talented drivers won’t make the major leagues.

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