Kwasniewski Conquers Bristol

BRISTOL, Tenn. – The sign reads, ‘Welcome To The Last Great Colosseum’ at the tunnel entrance of Bristol Motor Speedway.

Dylan Kwasniewski, 17, bested the legendary .533-mile high-banked oval and the other 35 competitors on Saturday to win the DRIVE4COPD 125 in the NASCAR K&N Pro Series East championship season opener.

Kwasniewski, the reigning K&N Pro Series West champion out of Las Vegas, Nev., took the lead on Lap 30 after pole sitter and race leader Michael McGuire got tangled up with lapped traffic under caution. Kwasniewski – behind the wheel of his No. 98 Royal Purple/Rockstar Energy Drink Chevrolet – was able to hold off runner-up Brett Moffitt on seven subsequent restarts to pick up his first East victory in his fourth series outing.


“(The car) was on rails. It was just as good at the end as it was in the beginning,” said Kwasniewski. “To win at a track like Bristol – there’s nothing like it. Also, to get the first win of the season definitely gives us a lot of momentum.”

It was Kwasniewski’s first Bristol experience as he transitions from his West Coast roots to the slate of tracks on the eastern side of the country.

“It took a little bit to get used to (the track),” he stated. “The sensation of driving around a track like that was pretty weird. The best way I can describe it is like those (carnival) rides that spin you around to where you don’t have any gravity. That’s what it’s like driving at Bristol.”

1 Dylan Kwasniewski
2 Brett Moffitt
3 Ryan Gifford
4 Michael McGuire
5 CJ Faison

Moffitt, who registered his 22nd podium finish in 36 series career starts, stayed right with Kwasniewski throughout the race, but was never able to get his No. 11 NRC/Nisco Toyota into a position to pass the talented youngster.

“We had a great race car today, but I was a little worried about it this morning,” Moffitt said. “We could stay right with (Kwasniewski), but his car would take off on the first few laps after restarts.”

Gifford – racing out of the Rev Racing stable – started eighth on the grid and finished third. It’s the second straight season that he kicked off the season with a third-place effort at Bristol.

“This is a good start to the year,” said Gifford. “This kind of race shows us that what we did over the winter was going in the right direction. I think we’ll be able to contend all year.”

McGuire, who seemingly had the fastest car on the track, rebounded from the early incident to finish fourth followed by CJ Faison in fifth.

Gray Gaulding, Eddie MacDonald, Jimmy Weller, Ben Rhodes and Ben Kennedy rounded out the top 10.

Kwasniewski, who led a race-high 96 laps, is competing for a K&N East championship in 2013 with Turner Scott Motorsports in its first full season of competition. It’s his sixth overall K&N Pro Series triumph in 29 career starts.

Kenzie Ruston, another of Turner Scott’s drivers, finished 11th which is the best K&N East finish for a female competitor since Danica Patrick scored a sixth-place finish at Dover (Del.) International Speedway in 2010.

The race was slowed due to caution eight times for a total of 37 laps and there was just one lead change.

The NASCAR K&N Pro Series East will return to action on Saturday, March 23 for the Kevin Whitaker Chevrolet 125 presented by G-Clean at Greenville (S.C) Pickens Speedway.