Jason Fensler took advantage of a fortunate turn of events to win the Toyota/NAPA AutoCare 150 Saturday night at All American Speedway in NASCAR K&N Pro Series West action.
Fensler, out of Wilton, Calif., charged from third to first on a Lap 142 restart to collect the second win of his career in just five series starts. His first win came in 2008 at Altamont Raceway Park, which was the part-time competitor's last start in a K&N Pro Series West event.
Pole-sitter Greg Pursley dominated the event, pulling away from the field early in the race and leading 133 laps. Eric Holmes, a three-time winner at Roseville, chased down Pursley and wrestled the lead away. But a lap later the two cars got together and that opened the door for Moses Smith to go three-wide into Turn 3 to take the lead. The caution flag waved again on Lap 137 when Fensler bumped Holmes in Turn 2. It was the ensuing restart that Fensler used to catapult himself into the lead.
“We just kept ourselves in position the whole entire race and that was the key,” said Fensler, who had moved forward after starting 15th. “(Crew chief) Roger (Bracken) preached that to me all day long. We didn’t have a real good car, but we put ourselves in position. I just knew on the last restart to get the best run I could off (Turn) 2 on the bottom.”
Fensler went on to win by .686 seconds. Smith held on to finish second, followed by Pursley, who was looking for his fourth win in his last five starts dating back to the 2010 season.
“We had a good car all day,” said Smith, who matched his career best finish. “It practiced good and it qualified good. In the race, it was really good. We were trying to save a little bit for the end, hoping for a late-race yellow and it came. We were able to jump out there in the lead for a little while and really didn’t want that last caution to come out, but it did and it got the best of us. It was just good short-track racing.”
Despite not getting the win, Pursley expressed satisfaction with a top-three finish as he recalled the late-race action.
“Eric got on the inside of us to pass us and ran us up the track a little bit,” he said. “And we were fighting a little bit there. That allowed everybody to catch up. We got passed. Then the 50 (Fensler) ended up spinning the 20 (Holmes). That’s typical Roseville racing, short-track Saturday night racing. I’m happy to come out of here with a third, because I’m usually the one that gets spun out.”
Fifteen-year-old Dylan Kwasniewski took fourth in his series debut, while Eric Schmidt came away in fifth. Holmes, who seemed to be poised for his fourth win at the .333-mile track, finished sixth followed by Luis Martinez Jr., Brett Thompson, Ryan Philpott and David Mayhew to round out the top 10.
The Toyota/NAPA AutoCare 150 will air on SPEED on Thursday, May 5 at 6 p.m. ET.
The NASCAR K&N Pro Series West is back in action next on April 30 for its first road-course event of the year, the Larry H. Miller Dealerships Utah Grand Prix at Miller Motorsports Park in Tooele, Utah.
Pursley continues to lead the championship standings, with 365 points. He is followed by Smith with 317, Brett Thompson with 297, Jonathon Gomez with 278 and David Mayhew with 277. Rounding out the top 10 are Holmes at 276, Martinez at 273, Daryl Harr at 248, Michael Self at 239 and Ryan Philpott at 232.