He’s blazing more trails than Daniel Boone. Dylan Kwasniewski, the Las Vegas teenager who turned heads by winning both the K&N Pro East and West Series titles, and starred in the AOL online series Flat Out will now race full time in the NASCAR Nationwide Series in 2014.
Winning both the East and West series is something that had never been done before. This last season, Dylan grabbed the brass ring in the East Series- the same path on which the likes of Ricky Craven and Darrell Wallace Jr. have trodden- winning six races and finishing top ten 10 times in 14 events. In 2012, Kwasniewski was a winner in the West with three victories and no less than a top ten in all 15 events he raced. On top of that, he finished fourth in a single 2013 ARCA Series race at Kansas to boot.
While the likes of Joey Logano, Austin Dillon and Kyle Larson arrived on the scene with much fanfare, Kwasniewski has burst onto the national scene on an entirely different level. Not only are we are aware of all he’s accomplished on the track, the public has been given a wide angle glimpse into his everyday life through the documentary series. It hasn’t taken us long to get to know a guy who just a few months ago going to prom and hanging out with his friends. What’s more, Kwasniewski hops into his number 31 Turner Scott Motorsports Chevrolet with a sponsorship in his hip pocket, receiving the backing of Las Vegas-based Rock Star, so there will be no need for scouring the corporate landscape for dollars to drive.
Think of what all the exposure has done for him. In days of yore, racers had practically become legends before we knew who they really were. In Dylan’s case, he hasn’t even turned his first Nationwide lap, and we already know he’s human, having already witnessed such everyday scenes as seeing the wunderkind debate with his mother, and discuss his future with his classmates.
Going in, we- NASCAR Nation- already have a pretty good idea of what this kid is like. Now that can work two ways: there will be those who will find his youthfulness endearing, and no doubt, there will be those who will see him as another snot-nosed punk who has had a smoothly-paved path laid out before him, or so it may be perceived. The window into his world will be both good and bad.
One thing is for sure, Dylan Kwasniewski will not toil in anonymity. His sponsors are fully committed, his team owners no doubt love all the exposure he brings to their organization and he’s got the resume to warrant the hype. If not, then he finds himself labeled as a media creation. Thus far, Kwasniewski has been racking up victories like the Arizona Wildcats.
NASCAR has seen its share of hot prospects behind the wheel. No one has arrived on the scene in quite the same Dylan Kwasniewski has. If he delivers on his potential, you can bet your bottom dollar that the Internet will soon explode with scores of cameras following those drivers visionaries are just sure will be the next big thing. Trying to unearth new talent in racing has proven to be an inexact science, but if the Dylan Kwasniewski story unfolds the way many believe it will, watch out.
For better or for worse, NASCAR will never be the same. Suddenly, that entertainment aspect of sports will be a whole new ballgame.