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ALTON, Va. – It was the perfect day for Dylan Kwasniewski.
Kwasniewski was fastest in practice and put his No. 98 Royal Purple/Rockstar Energy Drink Chevrolet on the pole before going out to lead a race-high 39 laps en route to a win in the inaugural Biscuitville 125 on Saturday in NASCAR K&N Pro Series East action at VIRginia International Raceway.
It was the fourth win of the season and ninth overall in the K&N Pro Series for Kwasniewski, the reigning K&N Pro Series West champion.
Bryan Ortiz was near the front of the field all race long and finished second – crossing the line .847 seconds behind Kwasniewski – to record his best series career finish. Brett Moffitt finished third to record his 33rd career top-five finish in 57 series starts. Ben Kennedy and Sunoco Rookie of the Year contender Gray Gaulding finished fourth and fifth, respectively.
Cale Conley, local standout Peyton Sellers, Scott Heckert, Eddie MacDonald and Alex Kennedy rounded out the top 10.
It was a career-best run for the rookie Heckert. Saturday also marked the first K&N Pro Series East appearance for Sellers – from nearby Danville – since 2008 when he won the finale at Stafford (Conn.) Motor Speedway.
Kwasniewski led the race’s first 10 laps, but was content to let Daniel Suárez take over the point for 17 laps before everyone made pit stops for fuel. Kwasniewski, a member of the prestigious NASCAR Next program, regained the lead on Lap 29 and led the rest of the way. The race ended with a green-white-checkered finish after Suárez’s bid for a second win this season ended in a cloud of smoke due to a Lap 50 engine failure.
After recording a best finish of fourth – twice – on road courses the two previous seasons in K&N Pro Series West action, Saturday’s triumph on the 2.25-mile circuit was Kwasniewski’s first on a track of that discipline.
“It was awesome,” Kwasniewski said of the victory. “We had a fantastic car. This track is a blast to run.
“I thought they were going to get me there for a little bit, but we just had to keep calm and make sure I didn’t burn off my tires because that was the biggest thing. We had to keep the tires under us and make sure we had rubber left at the end, and we did.”
With the victory Kwasniewski extended his lead over Moffitt in the championship standings to 28 points with five races remaining. Ben Kennedy holds down the third spot – 40 tallies in back of the leader.
It was the first road course race for the series since competing at Lime Rock Park in Lakeville, Conn., in July 2010, and the first NASCAR event in the storied history of VIR. The K&N Pro Series East will also make its inaugural visit to Road Atlanta in the next-to-last event of the 2013 season on Oct. 18.
The NASCAR K&N Pro Series East is back on the track next for the Kevin Whitaker Chevrolet 140 on Monday, Sept. 2 at Greenville (S.C.) Pickens Speedway.