ROSEVILLE, Calif. (Mach 29, 2016) – The NASCAR K&N Pro Series West heads this week to a California track that has quickly become a very popular stop on the circuit – Kern County Raceway Park.
The half-mile, high-banked speedway just southwest of Bakersfield will host the NAPA AUTO PARTS 150 on Saturday.
All four Bill McAnally Racing drivers aim to build momentum early in the season and they know this second race of the year offers that opportunity.
Nobody has been more successful than Todd Gilliland, who has three wins in his first three starts in the NASCAR K&N Pro Series – including last year’s season finale and this year’s season opener in the K&N East.
The 15-year-old, third-generation competitor from Sherrills Ford, North Carolina drives BMR’s No. 16 NAPA AUTO PARTS Toyota Camry. His win in the K&N West season opener at Irwindale (California) Speedway put him atop the championship standings, as well as the rookie standings.
“I’m anxious to get to Kern County,” Gilliland said. “The K&N Series tracks are all new to me, but Kern County Raceway is one where we tested in February. So, we got a chance to get some laps there in our NAPA Toyota.”
Despite his early success this season, Gilliland says he has a lot to learn.
“I’m looking forward to the challenge of going to all these new tracks and learning as quickly as I can,” he said. “I’m hoping we can keep up this success and go after a championship this year.”
He says consistent finishes are the key to contending for the title but adds, “Even if you have misfortune at one race or two races, you just make the best of every situation and learn from it and get the best finish you can.”
— NASCAR Home Tracks (@NASCARHomeTrack) March 31, 2016
Defending series champion Chris Eggleston – who drives BMR’s No. 50 NAPA Filters/H2O Fire Protection Toyota Camry – will be making his second start at KCRP, after finishing fifth there last year. The Erie, Colorado driver is coming off a third-place finish at Irwindale.
Series rookie Riley Herbst finished sixth at Irwindale in making his series debut driving BMR’s No. 19 NOS Energy Drink Toyota Camry. Herbst, 17, of Las Vegas is sixth in the championship standings and second in the rookie points.
Julia Landauer, who also made her first series start at Irwindale, came away with a strong eighth-place finish in BMR’s No. 54 Toyota Camry. She is eighth in the overall standings and fourth in rookie points. The 24-year-old was born and raised in New York, but now resides in Charlotte, North Carolina.
“Finishing eighth at Irwindale Speedway after racing in the top five at the end of the race was a solid way to start our 2016 season,” Landauer said. “There were many unknowns going into my first race, so throughout the race I learned a ton and had a blast racing. I’m going to build on that experience as we approach our second race at Kern and can’t wait to fight up front.”
The similarities between Irwindale and KCRP will be a benefit, according to Landauer.
“A lot of what I learned at Irwindale will carry over to Kern,” she said. “I’ve also been watching previous years’ races to get some more context. It will be harder not having a test day before the race, but I’m determined to put on a strong show and get some good racing in.”
Landauer credited her team and sponsors for providing her the opportunity, “I wouldn’t be able to do this without the support from Toyota Racing, NAPA Filters, NGK, Bill McAnally Racing, and Julia Landauer Racing,” she said. “Thank you to everyone who showed their support after my debut and I can’t wait to get back on track.”
There will be more than just race action on the high-banked track on Saturday. The two-seater NAPA Toyota will hit the oval, providing NAPA VIPs with a first-hand experience of going around the half-mile at KCRP.
The NAPA AUTO PARTS 150 will be the fifth series event held at Kern County Raceway Park since the track opened in 2013. The race will be televised on NBCSN on April 8 at 8 p.m. PT.
Bill McAnally Racing (BMR) holds the ARCA Menards Series West record with 11 championships and eclipsed the 100-win mark in 2022. The team has piled on six titles in the last eight seasons with four different drivers since 2015. Second-year driver Tanner Reif takes control of the No. 16 NAPA Auto Care Chevrolet for the 12-race campaign in 2023 and looks to improve on his runner-up finish in the 2022 drivers’ standings to build on BMR’s west coast legacy.