Kwasniewski Overcomes Adversity, Finishes 15th in the Desert

 

The NASCAR Nationwide Series (NNS) made its second and final stop of the 2014 season this weekend at Phoenix International Raceway (PIR) for the DAV- Honoring American’s 200. Dylan Kwasniewski and his No. 31 Rockstar Energy Drink/ FOE team looked to finish strong and leave the desert on a high note at the one-mile oval. After two up and down practice sessions on Friday afternoon, Kwasniewski went out on Saturday morning and laid down a time good enough to claim the 14th starting position for Saturday afternoon’s 200-lap dash. After going a lap down due to a pass through penalty on lap nine, Kwasniewski earned his lap back during the middle portion of the race, and crossing the finish line in the 15th position. 

As the green flag dropped, Kwasniewski changed lanes trying to gain valuable track position before crossing the start finish, resulting in a NASCAR mandated pass through penalty on lap 9.  After serving the penalty, Kwasniewski was scored in the 37th position, one lap down. Despite the early race set back, Kwasniewski wasted no time making his way back to the front and found himself in the 26th position when the first caution flag waved on lap 37.  During the caution Crew Chief Shannon Rursch called Kwasniewski down pit road for four tires, fuel and a track bar adjustment.  Following the stop Kwasniewski restarted in the 22nd position on lap 46.  The young rookie would continue to battle, ultimately receiving the free pass and gaining his lap back when the third caution of the day came out lap 111.  With nothing to gain on pit road, Rursch again called Kwasniewski down pit road for four fresh Goodyear tires, fuel and a big adjustment to the Rockstar Energy/FOE Chevy.  After restarting at the tail end of the leap lap in 18th on lap 118, Kwasniewski worked his way up to as high as 12th on lap 175, as was close to cracking the top-10 before brushing the wall during the final Green-White-Checkered finish, ultimately crossing the finish line in the 15th position.  

Dylan Kwasniewski on his run at Phoenix:

“Today was an up and down day for this No. 31 team. The guys built me a such a strong car and unfortunately I put us in a tough spot to start the race. The good thing about this team is we never give and that’s a testament to Shannon [Rursch] and his leadership. The guys made great pit stops all day and we ended up salvaging a top-15 finish. We will take this finish and move on to Miami next weekend to try and end the season on a high note.”