David Mayhew Takes the Checkered Flag at the NASCAR K&N Pro Series West Race in Phoenix

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Front stretch restart of the Pro Series West race in Phoenix.
Front stretch restart of the Pro Series West race in Phoenix.
David Mayhew knew he needed a fast start to win the NASCAR K&N Pro Series West season opener at Phoenix International Raceway on Saturday. He started on the pole and won his fourth career K&N Pro Series West race in the Talking Stick Resort 50. But the first lap was a little dicey.

"A couple of guys were getting loose down in (Turn) 1," Mayhew said. "I was watching all those guys go through the corner thinking, 'Oh man, this ain't good.' We got through the first lap. The second lap was awesome."
David Mayhew in victory lane in Phoenix.
David Mayhew in victory lane in Phoenix.

Mayhew led all 50 laps and won by 1.198 seconds over 16 year-old Dylan Kwasniewski. "Getting the pole was really the key to the race; starting up front, getting clean air and getting out and getting away from everybody," Mayhew said. "There were quite a few lappers, so being able to take your time when you got to them was the biggest thing - some high, some low, some both. It was definitely entertaining out there."

There was only one caution for three laps in the race. It took only 45 minutes, 24 seconds to complete 50 laps around the 1-mile paved oval at Phoenix. "Being a short race it was more like a Saturday night show," said Mayhew, who was winless in 2011 and the runner-up in the 2010 West Series standings. "It kind of went back to the roots of racing where you just got out there and went as hard as you can. You weren't worried about saving your tires. Goodyear brought an awesome tire, didn't really fall off at all. From the green flag it was all about going."
David Mayhew leading Dylan Kwasniewski.
David Mayhew leading Dylan Kwasniewski.

Kwasniewski, the 2011 Sunoco Rookie of the Year in the West Series, recorded the ninth top-five finish in his short career in the West Series. In 14 West Series races, Kwasniewski has two wins and 10 top 10s. "It was a good race," said Kwansniewski, a driver for Gene Price Motorsports. "Mayhew, he was just way far ahead. He had a pretty good car. It was going to be pretty hard to catch back up to him. Second place is a great finish for point standings and we're trying to go for the championship this year. That will definitely start me off on the right foot."

Daniel Suarez, a veteran of the NASCAR Mexico Series and K&N Pro Series East, was third. "I'm really happy about the result," Suarez said. "This is one of my favorite tracks. I like it a lot. We will come back much stronger the next time."

Greg Pursley, the reigning West Series champion and teammate to Kwasniewski, was fourth, followed by Derek Thorn in fifth. NASCAR Sprint Cup Series driver David Gilliland was ninth and Chase Elliott, son of NASCAR Cup champion Bill Elliott, was 17th.

The next K&N Pro Series West race is at Havasu 95 Speedway for the Toyota/NAPA Auto Parts 150 presented by Gene Price Motorsports on April 14. "It was a lot of fun with the shorter race," Mayhew said, "but looking forward to getting back to the longer races as well."

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