17-year-old Royal Purple driver Dylan Kwasniewski becomes youngest champion in NASCAR K&N

While most 17-year-olds are worried about graduating high school, Dylan Kwasniewski is making history and breaking records as the youngest pole winner in the NASCAR K&N Pro Series West.

He finished second at last weekend’s season finale at Phoenix International Raceway and became the youngest champion in series history, finishing with a 6-point margin over his teammate, Greg Pursley, for the championship.

The previous record holder was Chuck Brown in 1976, who was 22.

“All we had to do was finish in front of Greg and that’s what we did,” Kwasniewski said. “I couldn’t be more proud of my team and my mom. My dad started all this for me and this race was for him and this championship is for him,” Kwasniewski said of his late father. “To be out here in Phoenix and to get the championship, there’s no better feeling.”

According to Royal Purple, Kwasniewski now joins Kyle Larson, who won the NASCAR K&N Pro Series East title, as two members of the 2012 Next9 class to win NASCAR championships. The Next9 is an industry initiative designed to spotlight the sport’s next wave of national-series stars.

“I think the NASCAR Next9 is definitely the future of the sport,” Kwasniewski said. “We’ve proven it on the race track. Kyle won the (K&N East) championship and we just won the (K&N West) championship here. We’ve definitely got a lot of good drivers and I think that group of Next9 is going to be the next nine you’re going to see in the future (NASCAR Sprint) Cup Series. It’s really good to be part of this. It’s a group of elite drivers and I’m thankful to be part of it.”