K&N Pro Series News & Notes: Iowa
Kwasniewski Looks For First Iowa Checkered Flag
DAYTONA BEACH, Fla. – Dylan Kwasniewski is methodically checking off one accomplishment after another in his NASCAR K&N Pro Series career. Next on that list is a checkered flag at Iowa Speedway.
Last year’s NASCAR K&N Pro Series West champion, and this season’s points leader more than half the way through the NASCAR K&N Pro Series East schedule, has twice received credit for wins at Iowa. But both instances have left him without a chance to celebrate in Victory Lane.
In the East-West combination races at Iowa – eight of which have been contested since 2007 – the highest finisher from each series is credited with a win and first place points, but only the driver that’s first to the finish line gets the trophy.
Kwasniewski, from Las Vegas, was the highest finishing K&N West driver in the May 2012 event (eighth overall) to garner one of his three wins en route to the West championship. Then in the current season’s first trip to Newton on June 7 – now as an East representative – he finished second overall behind West driver Michael Self.
“Second place was good last time, and a good points day, but we’re definitely going out there to try to win this time,” Kwasniewski said.
As the K&N Pro Series returns to the .875-mile oval for this week’s Pork Be Inspired 150, Kwasniewski will vie for that trip to Iowa’s Pizza Ranch Victory Lane, and another check mark on the growing list of triumphs.
“I’m excited,” Kwasniewski says of the opportunity before him at Iowa. “It’s a great track and I think our cars will be really good this time. I’m very confident in our cars and our team with Turner Scott Motorsports.
“We’re definitely going out there to try and gun for that win this time.”
The Race: The Pork Be Inspired 150 will be the ninth all-time NASCAR K&N Pro Series East-West combination race at Iowa Speedway, and the second of two at the track in 2013.
The Procedure: The starting field is 36 cars, including provisionals. The first 28 cars will qualify through two-lap time trials. The remaining eight spots will be awarded through the provisional process. The race will be 150 laps (131.25 miles) and will be run in two segments with a midway break at or near the conclusion of Lap 75.
The Track: Iowa Speedway is a .875-mile paved oval with the turns banked 12-14 degrees, four degrees of banking in the backstretch and 10 degrees in the frontstretch.
Race Winners: The eight previous editions of the NASCAR K&N Pro Series East-West combination race have each produced a different overall winner. Cale Conley won this event last year as a representative of the East while West driver Michael Self took the checkered in this season’s first Iowa event.
Pole Winners: As with race winners, each of the first eight Iowa combo races has also produced different overall pole winners. Cale Conley earned the pole for this race last year while the best qualifier in this season’s first Iowa event was Anderson Bowen.
Records: Qualifying: Kyle Busch, May 17, 2009, 135.484 mph, 23.250 sec.; 150-Lap Race: Corey LaJoie, Aug. 3, 2012, 88.883 mph, 1 hour 28 minutes 36 seconds.
IOWA RACE NOTES:
Double Duty for Gifford With Nationwide Debut: Ryan Gifford will become the third Rev Racing driver to make his NASCAR national series debut when he competes in the U.S. Cellular 250 NASCAR Nationwide Series event at Iowa Speedway. It will be a double-duty weekend for Gifford, who will run in the Pork Be Inspired 150 as part of his normal NASCAR K&N Pro Series schedule with Rev Racing on Friday, then step into the No. 33 Richard Childress Racing Chevrolet on Saturday. Gifford will be the fifth driver from NASCAR’s Drive For Diversity initiative to make a start in one of NASCAR’s three national series following Marc Davis, Paulie Harraka, Kyle Larson and Darrell Wallace Jr. Gifford’s former Rev Racing teammate Wallace also made his national series debut at Iowa – in the May 2012 Nationwide Series race.
Self, West Drivers Look to Continue 2013 Combo Success: In the seven K&N Pro Series East-West combination races at Iowa prior to this season, a representative of the K&N East took home the checkered flag each time. K&N West standout Michael Self finally ended the drought on June 7 when he was the first to the finish line. That performance came on the heels of Cameron Hayley’s victory in the non-points UNOH Battle At The Beach on the short track at Daytona International Speedway in February, which has the West 2-for-2 against the East so far this season.
Moffitt Banking on Some Home Cooking: The last time the K&N Pro Series raced at Iowa in mid-June, Hawkeye State native Brett Moffitt – from Grimes – crossed the finish line third and left with the K&N East championship lead by five points on Dylan Kwasniewski. In the two outings between races at his home track, Moffitt finished 20th at Langley Speedway and seventh at Columbus Motor Speedway, and has fallen 23 points behind Kwasniewski. With his career-long winless streak now at 14 races, Moffitt will look to his home track – where he won in 2011 – as the perfect chance to get back into Victory Lane and gain on the championship points chase.
Thorn Continues Streak: Derek Thorn continues to extend his streak of consistent finishes, with top-fives in all seven K&N West races so far this season. His consistent performance goes beyond just this year, however. He has registered top-five finishes in 10 of the past 11 races, dating back to last season.
Conley Looks to Continue Turnaround: Last year’s Pork Be Inspired 150 pole winner, Cale Conley has had a rough go of it since one of the high watermarks of his career. After finishing seventh in the August 2012 event, Conley suffered nine consecutive finishes outside the top 10, but things have recently turned around. Conley ended his downturn with a seventh-place overall finish in June at Iowa and has backed that up with finishes of fourth at Langley and second last time out at Columbus. The recent momentum, combined with a history of good performances at Iowa, provide a recipe for continued success for Conley this week.
Milestones: Two K&N West drivers will be celebrating career milestones at Iowa. Jack Sellers is set to make his 270th series start, driving the No. 15 Bay Bio Diesel Chevrolet. The 69-year-old Sacramento, Calif., businessman – who holds the record for starts in the modern era of the series – made his first series start at Sonoma, Calif., on April 28, 1985. Meanwhile, David Mayhew is slated to make his 70th career series start in the No. 17 MMI Services/Ron’s Rear Ends Chevrolet. Mayhew of Atascadero, Calif., made his series debut at Central Texas Speedway in Kyle, Texas on March 31, 2007.
Welcome, Fox Sports 1: On Aug. 17 SPEED will become Fox Sports 1, and the Pork Be Inspired 150 will be the first event for the K&N Pro Series to run on the rebranded network. Series fans that have become accustomed to traditional broadcast dates on Thursdays at 3 p.m. ET will need to note that the Iowa combo race is slated to air on Sunday, Aug. 25 at 1 p.m.
HOME TRACKS: O’Brien Out Front in Hawkeye State
As the NASCAR Whelen All-American Series points season heads toward the home stretch, Jason O’Brien remains out in front in the race for the Iowa state title. Competing weekly in the Coors Light Late Model division at the dirt half-mile Adams County Speedway in Corning, O’Brien had earned 220 points through the latest national standings update on July 23. JC Wyman, also from Adams County, is a competitive second in the Hawkeye State standings with 202 tallies.
LAST TIME OUT – EAST: Columbus
Suárez Captures First U.S. Checkers: A four-time winner in the NASCAR Toyota Series in his native Mexico, Daniel Suárez broke through for his first American victory in the NASCAR K&N Pro Series East’s NAPA 150 on July 13 at Columbus (Ohio) Motor Speedway.
Kwasniewski Gets First East Pole: A seven-time top qualifier in his previous two seasons competing in the NASCAR K&N Pro Series West, Dylan Kwasniewski earned his first 21 Means 21 Pole Award by Coors Brewing in East competition at Columbus.
Ruston Ties Female Qualifying Mark: By qualifying a career-best fourth for the NAPA 150, rookie Kenzie Ruston tied fellow competitor Mackena Bell for the best qualifying effort for a female in series history. Bell first set the mark at Iowa Speedway in June.
LAST TIME OUT – WEST: Colorado
Thorn Dominates Colorado: Derek Thorn scored his third win of the season with a victory in the Toyota/NAPA Auto Parts 150 at Colorado National Speedway on Saturday, July 27. After notching his second career pole with a fast lap in qualifying, the driver of the No. 6 Sunrise Ford/Lucas Oil/Eibach Ford went on to lead 148 of 150 laps en route to the win, the fifth of his career.
High Marks for Rookies: Two Sunoco Rookie of the Year contenders had top five finishes at Colorado. Jamie Krzysik, who is running a schedule of select events this season, finished second in the No. 20 NAPA Filters Toyota in his sixth series start. Giles Thornton finished fourth in the No. 12 TTC Racing Toyota, also making his sixth career start.
Record Pace: The average speed of the race eclipsed the record mark at Colorado National Speedway. The event was slowed by just two cautions for 11 laps.
NEXT TIME OUT – EAST: VIR
Following the Pork Be Inspired 150 at Iowa Speedway, the NASCAR K&N Pro Series East will head to Virginia International Raceway for the Biscuitville 125 on Saturday, Aug. 24. The event will mark the series’ first road course race since July 3, 2010 at Lime Rock Park in Lakeville, Conn. The Biscuitville 125 will be contested on VIR’s 2.25-mile North Course.
NEXT TIME OUT – WEST: Monroe
The NASCAR K&N Pro Series West heads to the Pacific Northwest for its annual visit to Evergreen Speedway in Monroe, Wash., for the NAPA Auto Parts/Evergreen 150 presented by Toyota on Saturday, Aug. 17. Eric Holmes scored the win when the series visited the historic fairgrounds track last year.