NEWTON, Iowa (July 28, 2017) – Todd Gilliland dominated the competition on Friday in winning the NASCAR K&N Pro Series East-West combination race at Iowa Speedway for a second straight year – giving the Bill McAnally Racing No. 16 NAPA AUTO PARTS Toyota Camry a fourth consecutive victory in the prestigious event.
The win by the 17-year-old Sherrills Ford, North Carolina driver in the Casey’s General Stores 150 presented by Vatterott College was his third victory in four races and his 15th career win in the NASCAR K&N Pro Series.
It marked BMR’s 80th overall win in the NASCAR K&N Pro Series – the 10th this year.
Gilliland, the defending series champion in the K&N West, started third on the grid and dashed into an early lead. He was out front by a large margin in the first half of the race, but then had to hold off several challenges in the second half. He pulled away for the win after a late-race restart with less than 10 laps remaining.
“Everything’s coming together right now for our NAPA Toyota team,” said Gilliland, who is running the full schedules this year in the East and West divisions of the NASCAR K&N Pro Series. “It really puts my mind back into the championship battle. Every win we get closer. Gaining on your competitors always feels good. We’ve got to keep it up.”
He talked about the significance of back-to-back wins at Iowa.
“Coming to this East-West combination race is always huge for both divisions to prove they’re the best,” the NASCAR Next driver said. “Running both divisions this year, it’s cool to race against the same people who usually run up front, and get the opportunity to solidify our place.”
Gilliland’s BMR teammates shared in the spotlight on Friday, with 15-year-old series rookie Derek Kraus winning his first career pole award in the No. 19 Central Iowa Architectural / Carlyle Tools Toyota Camry. Kraus ran in the top five through most of the race, but faded to 11th with a mechanical issue in the closing laps. Chris Eggleston, who qualified second quickest in the No. 99 NAPA Filters / H20 Fire Protection Toyota Camry, dropped back near the midway point of the event and was on the verge of falling out of the top 10 before battling back to finish third. It was his best finish in five starts in East-West combo races at Iowa.
BMR’s trio of drivers remain 1-2-3 in the championship standings of the K&N West.
With his win, Gilliland extended his lead in the K&N West to 18 points over Eggleston. In the K&N East, meanwhile, he closed to within six points of first place. Overall in the two divisions, Gilliland has seven wins, 13 top-five, and 18 top-10 finishes in 18 starts this season.
Eggleston – the 2015 series champion from Erie, Colorado – has a 52-point advantage over Kraus in third. Eggleston has three wins, eight top-five, and nine top-10 finishes in nine starts this season in the K&N West.
In addition to being third in the K&N West standings, Kraus of Stratford, Wisconsin leads the rookie points. He has five top-five, and six top-10 finishes in nine K&N West starts this season.
A group of special guests, headed by Sales Manager Randy Judge of NAPA Des Moines, were provided a tour of the NASCAR garage at Iowa Speedway, courtesy of BMR. Guests also got to meet the BMR drivers and BMR team owner Bill McAnally.
This marked the 15th East-West combination race at Iowa Speedway. It’s scheduled to be televised on NBCSN on Aug. 3 at 7 p.m. ET / 4 p.m. PT.
The next event on the NASCAR K&N Pro Series East schedule is the Bully Hill Vineyards 100 in New York’s Watkins Glen on Aug. 4.
The next event on the NASCAR K&N Pro Series West schedule will be the NAPA AUTO PARTS 150 presented by Toyota at Evergreen Speedway in Monroe, Washington on Aug. 12.