Todd Gilliland Makes History with Victory at Kern
BAKERSFIELD, Calif. (April 2, 2016) – Todd Gilliland made history Saturday night by winning the NAPA AUTO PARTS 150 at Kern County Raceway Park near Bakersfield, California; giving him four wins in his first four NASCAR K&N Pro Series races and equaling a mark set by the legendary Dan Gurney 50 years ago.
The victory on the high-banked, half-mile track also gives the 15-year-old from Sherrills Ford, North Carolina two wins, along with two pole awards, in the first two races of the season in the NASCAR K&N Pro Series West.
Gilliland, who drives the No. 16 NAPA AUTO PARTS Toyota for Bill McAnally Racing, made his debut in the NASCAR K&N Pro Series with a win in the K&N West season finale at Phoenix last November. He kicked off 2016 by winning the K&N East season opener at Florida’s New Smyrna Speedway in February and followed that up by winning the K&N West season opener at Irwindale on March 19.
Gurney was credited with four straight victories while running select events between 1963 and 1966 in what was then known as NASCAR’s Western Grand National circuit.
Gilliland started on the pole in Saturday’s event and led the early stages of the race before giving up the lead. For the second consecutive race he appeared content to let someone else set the pace while keeping the leader within sight. Gilliland made his move late in the race and pulled away in the final laps to secure the win by a margin of 1.287 seconds.
“It’s an honor to tie such a record with someone like Dan Gurney, with the success he had in all kinds of motorsports,” Gilliland said. “Just to win four K&N races in today’s competition is hard. It shows how strong these Bill McAnally Racing guys are. They worked hard for this and I’m glad I could deliver.”
Like the Irwindale race two weeks earlier, all four BMR drivers finished in the top 10 at Kern County.
Riley Herbst was fourth in the No. 19 NOS Energy Drink Toyota Camry, scoring his first top-five finish in just his second series start.
“It was a real good run by the NOS Energy Drink Toyota Camry,” said the 17-year-old from Las Vegas. “I’ve got to thank Bill McAnally and all the guys at the shop in Roseville for all the hard work in getting these cars done.”
Finishing fifth in the No. 50 NAPA Filters / H2O Fire Protection Toyota Camry was the defending series champion, Chris Eggleston of Erie, Colorado – matching his finish of a year ago at KCRP. Julia Landauer bounced back after getting caught up in a late-race incident to finish 10th. The 24-year-old New York native was making just her second series start.
Gilliland leads the championship standings with his two wins. Eggleston is third in points, with two top-five finishes to begin the season. Herbst is fourth in points, with one top five and two top-10 finishes; while Landauer is eighth, with two top-10 finishes.
Gilliland also leads the rookie standings, with Herbst second and Landauer fourth.
Gilliland was a favorite among the crowd on Saturday, with a great turnout from NAPA. The NAPA Fresno Distribution Center, which made the event possible through the event sponsorship, treated their top customers to special hospitality – with enthusiastic fans packing two suites overlooking the track to cheer for the No. 16 NAPA AUTO PARTS Toyota.
In addition earlier in the day, special guests of NAPA AUTO PARTS got a first-hand view of the high-banks with a ride around the track in the two-seater NAPA Toyota.
The NAPA AUTO PARTS 150 will be televised on NBCSN on April 8 at 8 p.m. PT.
The next event on the series schedule will be the NAPA AUTO PARTS / Wildcat 150 at Tucson (Arizona) Speedway on May 7.