Dylan Kwasniewski, who picked up his first win of the season and third of his career, started from the pole and led every lap in the first NASCAR K&N Pro Series West race at the quarter-mile track since 2006. It was also the sixth time in nine NASCAR K&N Pro Series West races at Stockton since 2002 that a race was extended past its advertised distance.
By-Tim Southers, NASCAR
STOCKTON, Calif. – Dylan Kwasniewski was able to pull away on a green-white-checkered finish from Eric Holmes to win the Pick-N-Pull 150 NASCAR K&N Pro Series West race Saturday at Stockton 99 Speedway.
Kwasniewski, who picked up his first win of the season and third of his career, started from the pole and led every lap in the first NASCAR K&N Pro Series West race at the quarter-mile track since 2006. It was also the sixth time in nine NASCAR K&N Pro Series West races at Stockton since 2002 that a race was extended past its advertised distance.
“It was definitely tough,” said Kwasniewski, who after gaining the lead on the initial start had to fend off challenges in seven restarts during the event. “The Rockstar Energy Ford was great. Everybody at Gene Price Motorsports did a perfect job of putting this car together.”
Kwasniewski was side-by-side with his Gene Price Motorsports teammate, Greg Pursley, for the start and most of the restarts; but three-time series champion Eric Holmes had battled his way to second when the final caution flew. He challenged for the lead, but Kwasniewski once again was able to gain the position and lead the field to the checkered flag.
“Eric Holmes had a chance to take me out and drive me rough, but he’s a great driver and I’m glad he did it respectively,” said the 16-year-old second-year driver from Las Vegas. “It was a great race. It was just perfect. I had a blast.”
Kwasniewski’s No. 03 Rockstar/Royal Purple Ford crossed the finish line with a margin of victory of .490 seconds.
Holmes held on for second, with David Mayhew taking third. Pursley, who held second through Lap 145, ended up fourth, with Jason Fensler fifth. Finishing sixth was Jonathon Gomez, with Derek Thorn seventh and Austin Dyne eighth. Jessica Brunelli and Ronnie Jay completed the top 10.
With his victory, Kwasniewski locked up a spot in the NASCAR K&N Pro Series race at the UNOH Battle At The Beach at Daytona (Fla.) International Speedway next February during Speedweeks.
Kwasniewski also took over the lead in the championship standings. He leads with 173 points over Mayhew with 167. Pursley is third with 162 points, followed by Holmes with 160 and Thorn with 156. Completing the top 10 are Cameron Hayley at 126, Daryl Harr at 119, Jonathon Gomez at 118 and Austin Dyne and Michael Self tied with 116 each.
Kwasniewski is following up a record-setting rookie year in the series last season in which he set the mark as the youngest race winner and youngest pole winner. He capped off 2011 by becoming the youngest driver to win the Sunoco Rookie of the Year Award.
With his win at Stockton, he became the fourth different winner in four races this season. And he became the fourth driver to win from the pole this year. The last one to lead wire-to-wire, however, was Mayhew in the season opener.
The Pick-N-Pull 150 will air on SPEED on May 17 at 3 p.m. ET.
The next event on the NASCAR K&N Pro Series West schedule is the Graham Tire 150 NASCAR K&N Pro Series East-West combination race at Iowa Speedway in Newton, Iowa on May 19.