Pursley Finds A Way

MONROE, Wash. – The remarkable season continues for Greg Pursley.

Pursley rebounded from having to make a pit stop for a flat tire while leading early in the Evergreen 200 at Evergreen Speedway and was able to pass his teammate Dylan Kwasniewski with a dozen laps remaining and hold on to win his sixth NASCAR K&N Pro Series West race of the season.

The first caution of the race was thrown on Lap 59 for debris, which Pursley may have run over. Soon after the yellow flag flew, he headed to the pits with a flat right front tire on the No. 26 Gene Price Motorsports/Star Nursery Ford. His crew changed the tire and Pursley returned to the race in 11th. He was up to fifth by the halfway break and kept moving forward, passing Eric Holmes for second on Lap 106.

Kwasniewski, who had inherited the lead from Pursley, set the pace for much of the event, meanwhile – leading a race-high 125 laps. Pursley caught his teammate by Lap 123 and edged out front for a couple of laps as the pair ran side by side, but Kwasniewski prevailed in that battle.

On a Lap 189 restart following the fifth and final caution, however, Kwasniewski missed a shift and Pursley charged by on the outside to take lead for good.

“We had to come in and put a right front tire on,” said Pursley. “It was cut it down. We ran something over. We went out there and tried to stay out of trouble and still run my race and got back up to fifth there by the break.”

Teams changed tires, added fuel and made changes to the cars during a 10-minute break at the midway point of the race.

“We put new tires on it and made a few adjustments to the car, then tried to get up there and get some track position,” Pursley said. “We got up to second and ran behind Dylan there for a while. The kid’s just a great driver. I’m glad he’s my teammate, ‘cause he’s given us fits already. He’s doing a great job over there.”

Pursley seized the lead on the final restart and went on to win by a margin of .527 seconds over Kwasniewski.

“We definitely had a car to win,” said a disappointed Kwasniewski. “That last restart I just missed a shift and he got to the outside of me and made a great pass without even touching me. The Rockstar Energy Drink Ford was amazing and the crew was awesome. I couldn’t ask for anything better.”

Moses Smith finished third and his teammate Eric Holmes was fourth. Daryl Harr completed the top five, matching his career-best series finish. Justin Philpott also had a career-best finish in sixth. Local driver Naima Lang, making his series debut, finished seventh after winning the NASCAR Whelen All-American Series 100-lap event prior to the Evergreen 200. Another local favorite, Jeff Barkshire, was eighth, with Luis Martinez Jr. ninth and local driver Jason Fraser 10th.

The Evergreen 200 will air on SPEED on Thursday, July 28 at 6 p.m. ET.

The next event on the NASCAR K&N Pro Series West schedule is the Bi-Mart Salute to the Troops 125 at Portland (Ore.) International Raceway on Sunday, July 24.

In scoring his sixth win in eight races, Pursley has taken a commanding 298-point lead in the championship standings. He has 1,455 points. Smith remains second at 1,157, with Michael Self third at 1,061 points. Martinez, Jr. is fourth with 1,059 and Holmes is fifth with 1,042 points. Brett Thompson at 1,025, Kwasniewski at 1,008, Daryl Harr at 989, David Mayhew at 934 and Ryan Philpott at 901 complete the top 10.