More than teammates, Greg Pursley and Dylan Kwasniewski are friends.
They race each other hard, and they race each other clean.
That’s what they did Saturday night at Las Vegas Motor Speedway’s Bullring, each trying hard to beat the other but to do it without removing large swaths of paint from each other’s Ford.
What was clear all night, though, was Pursley owned the better car, and he used his No. 26 Fusion to pass Kwasniewski’s No. 03 on the back stretch of lap 193 to win the Star Nursery 200.
It was Pursley’s second consecutive NASCAR K&N Pro Series West victory in Las Vegas.
“The kid’s a great driver,” Pursley said. “But our car was just a little bit better and had a little bit more at the end.”
The 17-year-old Kwasniewski, who attends Faith Lutheran High School, remains atop the series standings, but No. 2 Pursley is only 12 points behind Kwasniewski. Pursley, 44, is the defending series champion.
He took the lead from Kwasniewski, who won the pole in qualifying, on lap 12 and kept it until No. 160, when his teammate went back in front.
“I wasn’t going to fight him for it,” Pursley said. “He’s my teammate. I knew we had a little bit better car than him, so we were going to try to get it back a little bit later, and it really worked out well for us.”
For Kwasniewski, last season’s series Rookie of the Year, he had to fight against getting loose.
He didn’t have a winning car, so finishing second to his Gene Price Motorsports teammate wasn’t such a bad thing.
“Our rear end was going bad, so we were just trying to fight to make sure we finished the race,” Kwasniewski said. “He was definitely better than me. I was trying to hold him off.”
Kwasniewski will compete in a K&N Pro Series East event Saturday at Jefferson, Ga., northeast of Atlanta.
Racing in front of the home fans made it a fun weekend for Kwasniewski, and the crowd of about 3,500 cheered him loudly.
“That was awesome,” he said. “When I went out and they called my name, I got goose bumps because it’s so cool. I wanted to win in front of these guys, but second’s good, and there’s nobody else I’d rather lose to.”
Next year at this time, Kwasniewski hopes to begin making an impact in the NASCAR Nationwide Series.
One of his biggest fans is the man who beat Kwasniewski. Both, though, want to win the points series, and it appears the title will come down to the two of them.
“That’s awesome to be able to do that out of one shop,” Pursley said. “That says a lot about Gene Price Motorsports. We’ve got a lot of great guys that work there. It’s one big team. It’s not separate teams at all, so we help each other out.
“I help (Kwasniewski) out with his driving, whatever he needs. It’s a great team effort all the way around.”
Contact reporter Mark Anderson at firstname.lastname@example.org or 702-387-2914. Follow him on Twitter: @markanderson65.