CORONA, California (October 15, 2014) – Dylan Kwasniewski said early last year that of all the racing series he has competed in his favorite is the Lucas Oil Modified Series presented by LoanMart.
When he said it Kwasniewski had just won the first series’ race of 2013 at The Bullring at Las Vegas Motor Speedway, and in that situation saying nice things is expected.
It wasn’t just idle talk for Kwasniewski, however. That’s why the 19-year-old Las Vegas resident is using a rare weekend off from the NASCAR Nationwide Series to race with the Lucas Oil Modified regulars in the Best in the West 75 presented by Hoosier Tire West Saturday night (October 18) at Havasu 95 Speedway in Lake Havasu City, Arizona.
Kwasniewski will be driving the 9X car for Chris Bray’s Phil’s Phabrication team as a substitute for Jason Irwin while Irwin competes in the Legends Car Nationals at Las Vegas.
Saturday’s race on the picturesque quarter-mile oval will be Kwasniewski’s first with the series since May 11, 2013, when he won at Las Vegas. He has made a total of 15 starts, seven of those when he finished seventh in the Hoosier Tire West point standings as a rookie in 2010, and also counts a win at Havasu 95 Speedway March 26, 2011, among his 10 top 5 finishes.
Kwasniewski is the only driver in NASCAR history to win the K&N Pro Series West and East championships, in 2012 and 2013, respectively, and this season the Turner Scott Motorsports team driver is 11th in the point standings in his rookie season in the Nationwide Series.
“Dylan is an incredibly talented young driver. He’s an asset to any series and we’re delighted to have him back with us this weekend,” Lucas Oil Modified Series promoter Greg Scheidecker said.
Kwasniewski’s presence in the 24-car starting field is a bonus for a race that already promised to be one of the most interesting of the season, with 18-year-old points leader Dylan Cappello bidding for a third straight win and a dozen or so drivers trying to capitalize on an unexpected opportunity to gain several positions in the point standings.
Cappello, a rookie who drives for Garcia Racing, got his first win at Irwindale, California, August 16 after a race-long battle with reigning champion Chris Gerchman and Jason Patison. He backed that up by dominating the 100-lap main event at Blythe, California, September 27, and will go into this weekend with a 34-point lead over 2012 champion Austin Barnes, who was suspended for the Irwindale race.
Lake Havasu City resident Larry Gerchman, his son Chris and Chase Catania fill the remaining spots in the top five of the standings and all will be on hand to chase the $1,300 winner’s share of the purse.
The rest of the top 20 could change dramatically, though, because several series’ drivers will be missing.
Patison, who is sixth, and Linny White, who is 18th, both will stay home in Southern California to race for the Super Late Model championship at Irwindale and Irwin, who’s 11th in points, will be with the Legends Cars. Tripp Gaylord (7th), Jessica Clark (15th), Keegan Walmer (16th) and Jairo Avila Jr. (19th) will be absent, too.
That will give drivers like Matthew Hicks, Tim Morse and Doug Hamm a chance to move into the top 10 and onto the top level of the K&N Filters tow money program and those just outside the top 20, like Dave Arce and Pat Petrie, an opportunity to earn a spot in the program that defrays some of the teams’ travel expenses.
Chris Gerchman won this season’s opening race at Havasu 95 Speedway March 2 and has won three of the past five events at the track. Jim Mardis won last October and has won at least once in each of the past five seasons.
Spectator gates will open at 4 p.m. and racing gets under way at 6 p.m. Tickets are $12 for adults, $10 for seniors, handicapped and military and $6 for children and juniors 6 to 16. Havasu 95 Speedway is part of the Sara Park complex, on Sara Parkway off U.S. 95 just south of Lake Havasu City.
-Lucas Oil Modifieds Press Release. Photo Credit: Getty Images for NASCAR