Tuesday, June 5, 2012

Pursley Battles Back For Vegas Victory

Veteran Edges Teammate Kwasniewski For Win At Bullring
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LAS VEGAS - Greg Pursley spoiled Dylan Kwasniewski's Las Vegas homecoming, but both drivers were all smiles after giving Gene Price Motorsports a 1-2 finish in Saturday night's Star Nursery 200 at The Bullring at Las Vegas Motor Speedway.

Pursley picked up his second NASCAR K&N Pro Series West win of the season, the 11th of his career, and successfully defended his race title at the .375-mile track.

Pursley displayed his dominance of a year ago, when he won six of the first eight races and seized the victory at Las Vegas with a wire-to-wire win. Starting third on the grid, he grabbed the lead on Lap 12 from Kwasniewski, who had won the 21 Means 21 Pole Award on his hometown track earlier in the day.

Pos Driver
1 Greg Pursley
2 Dylan Kwasniewski
3 Jonathon Gomez
4 David Mayhew
5 Cameron Hayley
While Pursley set the pace – his younger teammate, who had celebrated his 17th birthday two days earlier, appeared ready to challenge for the lead on restarts following the numerous cautions. 

Kwasniewski finally got by for the lead on Lap 160, during a green-flag run, and appeared that he might snatch the win away. He opened up a margin over Pursley as the paired battled through lapped traffic. But Pursley was able to take advantage of a restart after a late-race caution to make a power move on the outside to take the lead and the win. He crossed the line with a margin of .7 seconds over Kwasniewski.

“It was a great race,” Pursley said. “We had a really good car probably about the first 150 laps. We had a real good battle with Dylan. The kid’s a great driver, but our car was just a little bit better and had a little bit more at the end. That’s two in a row here.”

With 10 cautions in the race, Pursley stressed the need to get a strong restart.

“It’s pretty critical to get a good restart here,” he said. “You want to be on the bottom. I over drove Turn 3 just a touch and that let him peek under me and get the position. I knew we had a little bit better car than him. So I was going to try to get it back a little later. And it worked for us. I’m really proud of my Gene Price Motorsports guys. They gave us a great car. It’s a brand new car.”

Pursley expressed his confidence in running side-by-side with his young teammate.

"It doesn't matter if he's 17 or 60, I’d race side by side with him any time," he said.

Kwasniewski was equally enthusiastic after the race.

“I didn’t know how much we were going to be able to hold off Greg,” Kwasniewski said. “I was trying my hardest, but he had a good car. There’s nobody more I’d rather lose to than Greg. We’re one-two in the points championship and it was a good race.”

Jonathon Gomez finished a close third. David Mayhew, who had been penalized to the back of the pack for aggressive driving on Lap 62, battled back to finish fourth. Series rookie Cameron Hayley finished fifth. Rounding out the top 10 were Tim Bell, Austin Dyne, Dylan Hutchison, Taylor Cuzick and Ryan Philpott.

Kwasniewski was able to maintain a 12-point lead over Pursley in the championship standings, with Mayhew another 13 points back. Derek Thorn – who ran with the leaders, but had a flat tire in the closing laps – is fourth in points. Fifth in the standings is three-time series champion Eric Holmes, who was sidelined by engine problems and ended the night with a 19th-place finish. Gomez, Hayley, Michael Self, Dyne and Daryl Harr complete the top 10 in points.

The Star Nursery 200 will air on SPEED on June 14 at 3 p.m. ET.

The next event on the NASCAR K&N Pro Series West schedule is the Pick-N-Pull Racing To Stop Hunger 200 on the road course in Sonoma, Calif., on June 23.

Greg Pursley leads teammate Dylan Kwasniewski during Saturday's
Star Nursery 200 at The Bullring At Las Vegas Motor Speedway.
Jeff Bottari/Getty Images for NASCAR

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