Gilliland Captures Big Win In K&N Pro Series East-West Combo Race
NEWTON, Iowa (July 29, 2016) – Rookie Todd Gilliland captured one of the biggest wins of his young career with a victory in the NASCAR K&N Pro Series East-West combination race at Iowa Speedway on Friday.
It marked the fourth win in the first eight K&N West races this season for the Sherrills Ford, North Carolina 16-year-old who drives the No. 16 NAPA AUTO PARTS Toyota Camry for Bill McAnally Racing.
It also marked BMR’s sixth win and the team’s third consecutive victory in East-West combination events at the 7/8-mile track in Newton, Iowa.
Gilliland had turned the second quickest lap overall in qualifying, which as the fastest K&N West driver earned him his fourth pole of the season. Although he was second in the early going of the race, that didn’t last for long – as he quickly began to challenge for the lead. He used the low groove to get alongside the leader and then ran door-to-door before taking command.
“In lapped traffic, I got by the 40 (car) and moved up to the top more where he was running to make speed,” said Gilliland, a member of the NASCAR Next program that spotlights NASCAR’s rising stars. “I stayed up there all night and it was pretty good.”
Gilliland relinquished the top spot a couple of times, but quickly moved back to the point on both occasions. Following a restart after the midway break, he charged out front and appeared to be on cruise control as he headed to victory.
“It was pretty good all night,” he said. “There’s always concern about a late-race caution and that you went too hard all race, but I felt we paced ourselves pretty good.”
Gilliland had his BMR teammate, Riley Herbst, trailing him in second for much of the race – but chances for a 1-2 finish slipped away in the later stages of the event. Herbst drove the No. 19 NOS Energy Drink Toyota Camry to a sixth-place finish overall, third among K&N West drivers.
Two other BMR drivers, Julia Landauer and Chris Eggleston, battled through mechanical issues to finish 17th and 25th, respectively, overall. Landauer was eighth among West drivers in her No. 54 Curb Records Toyota Camry and Eggleston was 11th in the division in the No. 50 NAPA Filters / H2O Fire Protection Toyota Camry.
With his win, Gilliland regained the lead in the K&N West championship standings – with a three-point margin. He also leads the chase for this year’s rookie title. In addition to his four wins and four poles, he has seven top-five finishes.
Eggleston – the defending series champion from Erie, Colorado – is fourth in the championship standings. He has two wins, one pole, and six top-five finishes in the first eight races.
Landauer remains sixth in the overall standings and second in the rookie points. The 24-year-old New York native, who is also a NASCAR Next driver, has three top-five and seven top-10 finishes this season.
Herbst, 17, of Las Vegas is eighth in the overall series standings and fourth in the rookie battle. He has three top-five and six top-10 finishes this year.
The Casey’s General Store 150 will be televised on NBCSN on Aug. 5 at 2 p.m. ET / 11 a.m. PT.
The next event on the series schedule will be the NAPA AUTO PARTS 150 presented by Toyota at Evergreen Speedway in Monroe, Washington on Aug. 13.