Kwasniewski Clinches Rookie Award

Dylan Kwasniewski

Dylan Kwasniewski has two wins in his rookie season. (Photo: Getty Images)

Dylan Kwasniewski has added to his record-setting season in the NASCAR K&N Pro Series West by clinching the 2011 Sunoco Rookie of the Year Award with two races left this season.

The Las Vegas teen, who when he made his series debut in April at the age of 15 became the youngest driver to race on the circuit, has built an insurmountable lead in the rookie standings – bolstered by winning the Sunoco Rookie of the Race Award in six of the 11 races in which he has competed.

He heads to the final two races of the year with a 30-point lead in the rookie standings, despite not racing in the season opener because he had not yet been cleared to compete in the series on a one-mile track. With a maximum of 10 rookie points up for grabs in each event – Kwasniewski’s closest competitors, Ryan Philpott and Justin Funkhouser, are left to battle for runner-up honors.

Kwasniewski’s record year includes two victories, with back-to-back wins at Colorado National Speedway and Montana Raceway Park in August. With his first trip to Victory Lane, he became the youngest winner in the 57-year history of the NASCAR K&N Pro Series West. Just over two months past his 16th birthday at the time, it also gave him the distinction of being the youngest winner in the NASCAR K&N Pro Series overall.

In addition, Kwasniewski won the 21 Means 21 Pole Award by Coors Brewing Co., at Colorado – becoming the youngest pole winner in the series. He won a second pole at Spokane (Wash.) County Raceway in September.

He has piloted the No. 03 Rockstar/Royal Purple Ford to eight top-five finishes this season – second only to his teammate at Gene Price Motorsports, Greg Pursley, who has a commanding lead in the title chase.

Kwasniewski began his racing career by competing in his first go-kart race in Norwalk, Conn., before he was 5. He continued to race karts after moving to Arizona and went on to win a major title in 2005. He started circle track racing in a Bandolero division at The Bullring at Las Vegas Motor Speedway in 2007. He moved up to a Legends race car the following year. His resume also includes the American Speed Association Speed Truck Series, as well as modifieds and late models.

Past drivers to win the Sunoco Rookie of the Year honor in the NASCAR K&N Pro Series West include Derrike Cope, Chad Little, Bill Sedgwick, Rick Carelli and David Gilliland.

Kwasniewski, as well as the second and third place finishers in the final rookie standings, will be honored as part of the festivities surrounding the NASCAR Night of Champions Touring Awards Gala on Dec. 10 at the Charlotte Convention Center's Crown Ballroom in the NASCAR Hall of Fame.

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