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NASCAR K&N drivers excited about VIR debut

Alton — A writer asked six of the drivers that will be competing in the Aug. 24 Biscuitville 125 NASCAR K&N Pro Series East race at VIRginia International who will win the race during yesterday’s VIR Media Day event.

Brandon Gdovic, Kenzie Ruston, Austin Dyne, series points leader Dylan Kwasniewski, Bryan Ortiz and Mackena Bell all quickly raised their hands.

“I think Dylan should talk,” Bell said amid the laughter that erupted as she was finishing the remark.

Kwasniewski, who leads the NASCAR K&N Pro Series East title chase with three wins in his nine starts thus far this season and is one of a handful of drivers that will be bringing some measure of road racing experience into the first-ever NASCAR national touring series race at the legendary facility would be a good pick. So would several others including Dyne and Ortiz, both of whom also have road-racing experience.

All but Gdovic, Bell and Ortiz tested cars at VIR yesterday, getting their feet wet on the winding VIR North Course. 

“I thank VIR and Biscuitville for putting this race on,” Kwasniewski remarked.

“I’ve been itching to get on a road course all season. It’s a blast. Once I got here I was watching a little bit on video. It’s nothing like the video. It’s ten thousand times more fun.

“I’ve never driven a track like this,” added the series points leader.

“It scares you a little the first time you go on there because you don’t know what’s going to go over the hill and how your car is going to work. It’s tight and challenging. I think it’s going to be a great race.”

Dyne, a teammate of Kwasniewski and Ruston at Turner Scott Motorsports, finished eighth in the NASCAR K&N Pro Series West standings last season and won Rookie of the Year honors in that series. 

Having participated in a road race last season in that series, Dyne was looking for opportunities to compete in a road race this season in the K&N Pro Series East.

“I’m real excited to get back on a road course in a race car,” Dyne said.

“I think it will be a really good race. I’m excited we have two road races on the schedule.” 

Dyne pointed out he isn’t willing to concede anything to anybody.

“I’m feeling pretty good,” last year’s top West Series rookie remarked.

“We’re pretty fast. We’re trying to get the car the way I like it. I just want to keep the car on the track and stay focused on winning the race.” 

Ortiz, who is in his first season driving for Rev Racing and Drive For Diversity, like the others, is excited about the Biscuitville 125 at VIR – and for good reason.

“My background is road courses,” Ortiz noted, “ and I ran Grand-Am a couple of years here. It’s one of my favorite tracks. I can’t wait for the race.”

Ortiz said he was excited when NASCAR officials announced that the K&N Pro Series East was going to compete at VIR.

“When they (NASCAR officials) announced we would race at Road Atlanta, I said ‘at least one,’ and then when they announced VIR was on the schedule, I said ‘this is going to be awesome.’” 

While Ortiz has road-racing experience and has experience on the VIR layout, competing in the heavier cars on the VIR North Course will be a new experience.

“It (The K&N Pro Series East stock car) is far different from the other cars I’ve driven here before,” he pointed out.

“I think we should do good if the car stays together. It should be fun.”

On the other end of the spectrum is Bell, who has virtually no road course experience.

“Unfortunately, I don’t have many laps on a road course,” Bell noted.

I don’t really know anything about road course racing. I never looked into it. I always thought turning left was the right way. 

“I’m glad to be here today to see these guys go around the course,” she added.

“I’m going to take as much advice as I can. I’ll pick Bryan’s brain.”

The NASCAR K&N Pro Series East competitors will have a full day of practice on Friday, Aug. 23. According to a tentative event schedule, the NASCAR contingent will practice on Saturday from 9:05 a.m. until 10:20 a.m., participate in an autograph session with fans from 11 a.m. until noon, qualify at 1:40 p.m. and start the day’s 50-lap, 125-mile race at 4:35 p.m.