California veteran holds off Las Vegas teen for Modified win

If race winners were determined by the number of cars passed then Dylan Kwasniewski would have claimed his first Lucas Oil Modifieds Series win on Saturday night.

But that’s not how it works.

The 15-year-old Las Vegas rookie passed 22 cars in coming from the back of the pack at Las Vegas Motor Speedway’s Bullring to finish second to Tim Morse. Morse, of Burbank, Calif., led all 75 laps to win the double-points race on the three-eighths-mile oval.

Kwasniewski started the race fifth in the car tuned by Chris Bray, but was sent to the rear of the 24-car pack after being collected in a crash on the first lap. Although the accident wasn’t Kwasniewski’s fault, Bullring rules mandate those involved in an incident that causes a caution period to be sent to the rear.

“I was a little ticked off but that’s the rule,” said Kwasniewski, a Faith Lutheran High School sophomore.

From there, he maneuvered almost all the way back for the victory. He finished 0.39 seconds — less than two car lengths — behind Morse.

“I had an awesome car. I tried a couple moves to get around (Morse) but he’s a great racer and I had used up our tires by the end.”

A mechanical problem ended the day for Las Vegan Doug Hamm on lap 20 when he was running third. Hamm, who raced in the top three for most of the night, started first in season points but believes he lost his bid for the series championship when his car developed a fuel pump problem.

He faltered to 14th.

His closest pursuer for the championship, Chris Gerchman of Lake Havasu City, Ariz., saw his four-race winning streak end, and his title hopes dashed when an engine failure forced him out of the race after 51 laps.

In the NASCAR All-American Series races, Dustin Ash took the lead on the 10th of 40 laps to post his second straight win and fifth of the season to extend his points lead in the Super Late Models division. Ash extended his series points lead over Scott Gafforini, who placed fourth.

Other unofficial race winners: Phil Goodwin (Chargers), Jeremiah Wagner (Legends Cars), Pete Meyer (Bombers), Vincent Raucci Jr. (Bandolero Bandits) and Austin Morris (Bandolero Outlaws).

Contact reporter Jeff Wolf at or 702-383-0247.

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