Dylan Kwasniewski has had some rough times of late in his rookie season in the Nationwide Series, but not in Saturday’s final practice round for Sunday’s Get to Know Newton 250 at Iowa Speedway.
The Las Vegas native covered the .875-mile track with a best speed of 135.077 mph, coming on the next-to-last of 46 laps he attempted in what was the weekend’s fourth and final practice for Sunday’s main event.
Ty Dillon was second-fast at 134.088 mph, followed by Austin Theriault (133.764 mph), Trevor Bayne (133.713) and Chad Boat (133.480).
Sixth- through 10th-fastest were Chase Pistone (133.254), Brian Scott (132.872), James Buescher (132.648), Ryan Reed (132.632) and Ryan Sieg.
Eleventh through 20th were Regan Smith (132.470), Dakoda Armstrong (132.403), Sam Hornish Jr. (132.236), Cale Conley (132.225), Michael McDowell (132.148), Elliott Sadler in 16th (132.109), Chris Buescher (132.098), Ryan Gifford in 18th (132.037), Landon Cassill (131.871) and Ryan Blaney (131.667).
One driver was conspicuous by his absence for not taking part in the final practice: Nationwide Series points leader Chase Elliott.
The 18-year-old Elliott had a good excuse: he was back in his suburban Atlanta home, preparing for his high school graduation.
Elliott is expected to be back in time later Saturday for qualifying, which is scheduled for 7:10 p.m. ET.
The IndyCar iRacing Challenge will be running its second consecutive road course Saturday at Barber Motorsports Park (2:30 p.m. ET on NBCSN or streaming here).
Of the four remaining races in the six-race series, there’s a chance that three of them could be ovals: A Drivers’ Choice track April 11; a “Random Draw” April 18 and a non-IndyCar “Dream” track May 2 (the April 25 race will be at Circuit of the Americas).
IndyCar drivers are voting on next week’s track, and the options include high-speed ovals such as Texas Motor Speedway and Michigan Speedway.
Talladega apparently isn’t on the list for next week, but surely it could be considered for a future race if it meant having Earnhardt in the field. The 15-time NASCAR Most Popular Driver is a six-time winner at Talladega, and the NASCAR on NBC analyst’s family is synonymous with the 2.66-mile oval where his late seven-time champion father won a record 10 times.
“I hope he can make that happen,” Askew said of racing against Earnhardt. “I hope IndyCar can grant his wish on that.”
The addition of Earnhardt would fit well with an IndyCar iRacing Challenge that already features champions from NASCAR (Jimmie Johnson) and Supercars (Scott McLaughlin).
Will Power would like to see more of that.
“I think that would be great if we can get big-name drivers from other series,” Power said. “Getting a couple guys from Europe would be cool.”