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BRASELTON, Ga. – Dylan Kwasniewski continued to make history with a dominating effort Friday in winning the Road Atlanta 115 and claiming the 2013 NASCAR K&N Pro Series East championship.
“The car was just awesome today,” said Kwasniewski. “The Turner Scott Motorsports team has given me great cars all season and I can’t thank all the people that make this possible enough.”
Kwasniewski, who became the youngest champion in the NASCAR K&N Pro Series West last year, became the first driver to win both titles in both series.
“I wanted to go out with a bang with a win in the race and the championship. That’s what we did,” said the driver of the No. 98 Royal Purple Synthetic Oil/Rockstar Energy Drink Chevrolet. “To get two back-to-back especially on the East Coast and the West Coast; I’m just trying to prove to everybody out there that I can get it done not only (in) the west but on the east side, too.”
The 18-year-old out of Las Vegas shook off a pair of hard luck finishes that had narrowed his lead to just five points over Brett Moffitt entering the final race of the season. He started from the pole position and dominated the series’ inaugural visit to the 2.54-mile road course by leading wire-to-wire for his sixth win of the season.
Kwasniewski’s season win total tied Brad Leighton’s six wins in 1999 for the second-most in series history. Ricky Craven won a record 10 races in 1991.
While Kwasniewski was out front, the championship suspense quickly ended as Moffitt had transmission problems that knocked him out of second-place on Lap 6 and eventually out of the race. Moffitt finished 24th, giving Kwasniewski the title by 33 points.
A pair of Rev Racing drivers – Daniel Suárez and Bryan Ortiz – finished second and third. Rev Racing is a byproduct of NASCAR’s Drive For Diversity effort.
The runner-up finish for Suárez closes out a breakout season for the member of the NASCAR Next program. He scored top-five finishes in four of his last five starts of the season.
“In the first half of the race the car was good and just as fast as Dylan’s, but it just got tighter and tighter,” said driver out of Monterrey, Mexico. “I don’t know exactly what happened. It just never came back to neutral.”
Bayamón, Puerto Rico’s Ortiz, who cut his teeth on road-course racing, registered his second podium finish of the season. He finished second on the road course at Virginia International Raceway in August.
“We started 14th and tried to be patient because the traffic was really crazy,” said Ortiz. “When I got to third I tried to save a little in case we got a caution to try and do something at the end, but it never happened. It was awesome to finish on a good note.”
Canadian road-course ace worked his way up from a start in the 24th position to finish fourth followed by rookie Cole Custer in fifth. Ben Kennedy, Scott Heckert, Brandon Gdovic, Dale Quarterley and Austin Dyne completed the top-10 finishers.
Kwasniewski, a member of the NASCAR Next program, also became the first driver since Mike Stefanik to notch championships in two different series in consecutive years. Stefanik won the NASCAR Whelen Modified Tour and K&N Pro Series East titles in both 1997 and 1998. Lee Petty and Bobby Allison are also members of this exclusive group.
At 18 years, 4 months and 3 days, Kwasniewski is the third-youngest champion in K&N Pro Series East history behind Joey Logano and Ryan Truex, who both won titles before turning 18 years of age.
The championship was the first at the K&N Pro Series level for Turner Scott Motorsports that fielded three fulltime teams in 2013.
“We started out in January with an empty race shop and here we sit at the press conference after taking the championship,” said Harry Scott, Turner Scott Motorsports co-owner. “We’ve really come a long way.”
The race lineup was set per the series rule book after rain washed out on-track activity on Thursday. Track conditions and schedule allowed the cars on the track for a practice session on Friday.
The Road Atlanta 115 will be telecast on Fox Sports 2 at 10 a.m. ET on Saturday, Nov. 2.
Kwasniewski will be honored for his championship season along with NASCAR's other touring series champions on Saturday, Dec. 14 at the NASCAR Touring Series Awards in the Grand Ballroom of the Charlotte (N.C.) Convention Center at the NASCAR Hall of Fame.
RESULTS | LAP-BY-LAP RECAP | AUDIO: POST-RACE PRESS CONFERENCE WITH CHAMPION TEAM OWNER HARRY SCOTT, CHAMPION DRIVER DYLAN KWASNIEWSKI AND CHAMPION CREW CHIEF MARDY LINDLEY | AUDIO: POST-RACE WITH RUNNER-UP DANIEL SUAREZ | AUDIO: POST-RACE WITH THIRD-PLACE BRYAN ORTIZ
Dylan Kwasniewski en route to his Road Atlanta 115 victory. Getty Images for NASCAR