October 17, 2013 – By Jacob Seelman for Speed77 Radio and Race Chaser Online – Braselton, GA – For Dylan Kwasniewski, this weekend isn’t simply about a race. It’s about a chance to make history.
The 18-year-old NASCAR Next driver out of Las Vegas, Nevada, less than a year removed from his incredible championship run in the NASCAR K&N Pro Series West ranks comes into the final race weekend of the season for the K&N Pro Series East lacking momentum, but oozing confidence as he seeks to become the first driver in history to win titles in both the East and West divisions, a fact not lost on him at all.
“I’m ready to go for it,” Kwasniewski said in a recent interview with Race Chaser correspondent Jacob Seelman. “Yeah, we’ve had some struggles the last couple of weeks, but that only makes me want to get after it even more. I’m not going to quit, not going to stop until I see that checkered flag at Road Atlanta. And hopefully when we see it it’ll mean we’ve won the championship.”
For the young man who came all the way from the go-kart ranks and is now proving to be one of the top prospective talents in the NASCAR ranks, he realizes that his performance now could be crucial to his future plans.
“I have to go out and give it all I’ve got, each week, each time I strap in, to try to perform. If I don’t perform here, who knows if I’ll get another chance. Some people might call it cocky, but I don’t see it that way. I have to believe I can do it, because it’s the only way I’m going to be able to go out and accomplish my dreams.”
Dreams which have already begun to be accomplished, mind you. In two seasons in the K&N Pro Series West, Kwasniewski notched 5 series wins, 7 poles and 24 top 10s in 28 starts, a run which led to the title last season and the opportunity to drive the #98 Rockstar/Royal Purple Chevrolet for the Turner-Scott Motorsports K&N East program this season.
And this season, Kwasniewski has been even better, with five wins and three poles to go with 9 total top 10 finishes in 13 starts this season. His stats have been outstanding for a driver in his first full-time season in the East series, and he has used those numbers to bring a five-point lead on three-time title runner-up Brett Moffitt into this Friday’s finale at Road Atlanta, just the second series road race since 2010. Keep in mind, Kwasniewski won the earlier road race this season at VIR, and had 4 top fives in 7 road course starts out west.
Hence, he’s entitled to be confident, even if the last two races at Loudon and Dover (crash and eletrical issues, respectively) have cut his points lead from 4o points down to 5. Kwasniewski knows all he has to do is beat Brett Moffitt, and it doesn’t ultimately matter if he wins the race or not.
“At that point,” he says, “we’ve done our job.”
Listen in below as Jacob Seelman sat down for an extended interview with Dylan Kwasniewski to talk about his racing history, his chances to claim the 2013 K&N Pro Series East title, and his drive and passion for racing as he continues to work at ascending the ranks towards his ultimate goal of reaching the NASCAR Sprint Cup Series.
Photo Credit: Getty Images for NASCAR