Greg Pursley's record at Toyota Speedway at Irwindale is pretty impressive. He won a NASCAR Whelen All American Series national championship and a Toyota All-Star Showdown late model race at the track. By his count, he won 28 Super Late Model races and a couple of NASCAR Soutwest Tour races over his career at Irwindale.
Greg Pursley battles to win the Southern California Toyota Dealers 200
NASCAR K&N Pro Series West Driver Greg Pursley
The only thing missing was a NASCAR K&N Pro Series West win at Irwindale. He changed that on Saturday night in dominating fashion.
Pursley won the pole and led a race-high 164 laps in the Southern California Toyota Dealers 200 presented by King Taco. It was his first win at Irwindale in 48 career West Series starts.
"It's huge. I keep telling everybody we've won everything there is to win here," said Pursley, a driver for Gene Price Motorsports. "We've won a national championship here. We've won two championships in the Super Late Model here. We've always come so close in the West car. We almost won the Showdown last year with eight to go and had a flat tire. That's the way our season was last year. This is a great win for the Gene Price Motorsports team and myself. Hopefully we can come with that same car for the Showdown."
Pursley led the first 66 laps of the race and gave way to Micheal Self until the midway point when drivers had to make mandatory pit stops.
Greg Pursley wins NASCAR K&N Pro Series West Race at Irwindale
"Ever since we unloaded the car off the trailer, it's been really good. We led for quite a bit," Pursley said. "We were running the pace I wanted to run there at the first 100. The 21 car (Self) came up on us and wanted to get by us. I told my crew chief I'm just going to let him go. I don't want to go any faster. We need to save our stuff for the end. We let him go and came in under the break and did a few adjustments on the car."
It didn't take Pursley long to regain the lead. He passed Self on lap 103 and was out front for the remainder of the race. The only caution in the final 100 laps of the race came when Justin Funkhouser's car caught fire on lap 158.
"Took off on the second 100 and got out there a little bit, got a little bit of a cushion and eased up and ran my pace that I wanted to run for a while there until the final yellow flag there," Pursley said.
It was the fifth win in seven K&N Pro Series West races for Pursley this year. He has a commanding 278-point lead over Moses Smith in the West Series standings. Pursley was asked after the race if all his success is making him nervous.
"It's making me nervous because I don't want to stop doing it," Pursley said. "I'm so fortunate to have my team right now. Gene Price has given us the best resources to work with. My team is great. It's just all working out. It's all just coming together this year. I'm just going to try and ride it as long as I can."
Derek Thorn, making only his third K&N Pro Series West start of the season, was second. It was his second top-five finish in three races.
"It was really good, didn't get the qualifying lap that we had hoped," said Thorn, who started eighth. "We were first in that last practice session, so we were really hoping for the pole position. Fighting the car a little bit. We only had the daytime to kinda get the car where we wanted it. It kind of gave us a false reading with Irwindale turning into night here. The track really didn't gain as much grip as we had hoped. We kind of stayed on the neutral side for the first 100 laps, just holding on for dear life, trying to save positions. We ended up back to seventh for the first 100. After that we climbed up back into the top five."
Dylan Kwasniewski, Pursley's 16-year-old teammate at Gene Price Motorsports, came in third, putting both GPM cars on the podium. It was Kwasniewski's fourth top-five finish of the season.
"The first portion of the race was pretty bad," Kwasniewski said. "The car was a little upset, it was just loose, couldn't handle the car. We were trying to keep our compsure at the beginning of the race. We started to fall back and I got a little bit worried. We made a lot of changes, took a couple swings at it. It definitely made the car better for the second portion of the race. We got to pass a lot of those cars back. Maybe we had a chance to go for the first or second place finish. I'm happy with a third-place finish. I'm glad we got back up there."
The K&N Pro Series West race from Irwindale will be broadcast on Speed on July 21 at 6 p.m. ET.
The next K&N Pro Series West race is at Evergreen Speedway in Monroe, Wash., on July 10.
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