Greg Pursley winning races has been pretty much a sure bet in the NASCAR K&N Pro Series West in 2011. The race at the Bullring at Las Vegas Motor Speedway on Saturday night was no different.
NASCAR K&N Pro Series West Driver Greg Pursley in Victory Lane
Greg Pursley leads Eric Holmes at the 2011 NKNPS West in Las Vegas
Pursley won the pole and led every lap in the O'Reilly Auto Parts 200 to win his fourth race of the season. He has won four of the first five K&N Pro Series West races and six of the past eight going back to 2010.
"This is completely opposite of our year last year," Pursley said. "Last year we had no luck. Everything that could happen, happened last year. Finally, toward the end of the year it kind of turned around for us. Our team kind of gelled together. My crew chief, Jerry Pitts, has been here a little over a year now and I think our communication has finally come together. He's been a really good leader for our team. I can't say enough about him. We have a great team. Hopefully, we can keep this roll going."
Pursley set the track record with the fastest time in qualifying. He leads the K&N Pro Series West standings by 201 points over Moses Smith. It is the largest lead in 20 years for a West Series driver after five races.
NASCAR K&N Pro Series West Driver Greg Pursley Wins the Pole
While Pursley dominated the race, the fight for second place had its share of drama. Dylan Kwasniewski, Pursley's teammate at Gene Price Motorsports, battled with veteran Eric Holmes, a three-time K&N Pro Series West champion, and Jason Fensler, a part-time driver who won the K&N Pro Series West race at All American Speedway in Roseville in April and the only driver to win a race other than Pursley.
Kwasniewski and Holmes swapped second place during the first half of the race. But Holmes had to withdraw with mechanical problems on lap 129. He ended up in 22nd place.
Fensler, who was caught in a crash earlier in the race, made a late charge and took over second place from Kwasniewski. But after the two banged fenders as the race winded down, Kwasniewski took back second place at the end.
"Our brakes started to fade at the end. We just didn't have the race car at the end of the race," said Kwasniewski. "If we were closer to Greg, maybe we could have put on a show. We were just too far away once we got involved with Fensler. It was a great race and I couldn't ask for a better team."
It was his best career finish in a NASCAR K&N Pro Series West race. Fensler finished third, giving him two podium finishes in his two K&N Pro Series West starts.
"We worked our way up. We got up to third," Fensler said. "We really had the fastest car, we were just kind of cruising there for a bit. We got spun out on just a racing deal by (David) Mayhew and it was no fault of his. I checked up before the 03 car in front of me. We spun around. We battled back for third."
Michael Self was fourth, followed by Brennan Newberry in fifth.
Pursley leads the K&N Pro Series West standings with 920 points after five races. Smith, who finished 20th at Las Vegas, has 719. Luis Martinez Jr. is third in the West Series standings with 715 and David Mayhew is fourth with 701. Brett Thompson rounds out the top-five with 686 points.
The O'Reilly Auto Parts 200 will be broadcast on Speed on June 23 at 6 p.m. ET.
The next NASCAR K&N Pro Series West race is at Infineon Raceway in Sonoma on June 25.
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