January 11, 2014 — Report by Jacob Seelman for Race Chaser Online — NASCAR via Getty Images photo — DAYTONA BEACH, FL — When you find a gold mine, you want to utilize it for all it’s worth.
And Turner-Scott Motorsports may well have found their gold mine. Their young charge, 18-year-old Dylan Kwasniewski, rocketed to the top of the charts in opening round testing for the NASCAR Nationwide Series during Daytona Preseason Thunder.
Kwasniewski, out of Las Vegas, Nevada, was the 2012 K&N Pro Series West Champion and last year’s K&N Pro Series East Champion. The NASCAR Next star is testing in anticipation of a full-time NASCAR national series opportunity with TSM in 2014, though it has not yet been officially defined whether that opportunity will be in the Nationwide Series or the Camping World Truck Series.
Kwasniewski set a fast lap of 49.071 seconds (183.408 mph) to edge out another new face in the NNS ranks, James Buescher (driving for RAB Racing in the No. 99) by three one-thousandths of a seconds. Buescher clocked in second at 49.074 seconds (183.397 mph).
Making the charge more impressive was the fact that Kwasniewski had never been around the 2.5-mile speedway until Saturday morning.
“It’s definitely a dream come true just to be out here,’’ the Sin City native expressed. “It’s definitely a learning experience. I wasn’t nervous at all coming up to it. Then right when I was sitting there about to go on track, I get the nerves that I do before qualifying. I was just excited to get out there.’’
“(And) it’s crazy,’’ Kwasniewski added, referencing being in the draft for the first time. “It’s definitely nerve-racking a little bit.’’
Kwasniewski is looking to run the ARCA opener at Daytona next month to begin Speedweeks, the final major step in order for him to be approved to run the Nationwide race for Turner Scott Motorsports the following weekend.
Kyle Larson, returning to the seat of the TSM No. 32, set the third-fastest lap at 49.238 seconds (182.786 mph) and was the only other driver to break the 49-second barrier. Elliott Sadler (50.048; 179.827) and Ty Dillon (50.169; 179.394), also moving into the Nationwide ranks in 2014 driving for his grandfather — Richard Childress — completed the fast five.
NASCAR Nationwide Series testing from Daytona International Speedway continues through the afternoon, beginning at 1 PM Eastern and continuing until 5 PM this evening. FOX Sports 1 will have the four-hour afternoon session airing on two-hour tape delay from 3 PM until 7 PM ET tonight.