Greg Pursley won the NASCAR K&N Pro Series West race at Kern County Raceway Park in Bakersfield and put himself in contention to win the series championship.
Greg Pursley chasing No. 21 Michael Self in the closing laps
Pursley won his NASCAR K&N Pro Series West leading fifth race of the season. It was the 18th NASCAR K&N Pro Series West win of his career.
It also put him in second place in the NASCAR K&N Pro Series West standings with one race to go.
Celebrating his 5th win of the season - No. 26 Greg Pursley
Pursley won the NASCAR K&N Pro Series West championship in 2011. He trails Derek Thorn by 16 points with the season finale Casino Arizona 50 at Phoenix International Raceway coming up on Nov. 9.
Pursley was able to cut into Thorn's lead at Bakersfield. Thorn finished in sixth place despite starting on the front row and leading the first lap of the race.
"I'll tell you what, lapped traffic was very interesting here," Pursley said. "I split a couple cars a couple times. It was hairy a few times, but everybody did a great job. It's a great series to run."
Pursley battled Michael Self over the last 30 laps of the race. There were only four cautions for 24 laps in the inaugural NAPA Auto Parts 150. The last caution period proved to benefit Pursley, but he didn't exactly want to see the race interrupted.
"I didn't want to see it and I did," said Pursley, driver of the No. 26 Ford for Gene Price Motorsports. "I knew we were good on the outside there and I knew once I got a good start and could get away from him that he'd have to chase me back down. Fortunately it worked out for us and we came home with a win here."
The NASCAR K&N Pro Series West Has returneds to Bakersfield, CA as the NAPA Auto Parts 150
Cameron Hayley was also able to cut into Thorn's lead a little. He was fifth in the race at Bakersfield and trails Thorn by 18 points in the NASCAR K&N Pro Series West standings.
Pursley started the race on the second row, behind Thorn and Gray Gaulding, the pole winner. Gaulding, from Colonial Heights, Va., is the youngest driver to win a pole in the NASCAR K&N Pro Series West. He is 15 years, 8 months and 16 days. He is also the youngest driver to win a pole in the NASCAR K&N Pro Series East.
Gaulding passed Thorn for the lead on lap 2 and was out front for the next 54 laps. Pursley and Gaulding battled for the lead until lap 63 when Pursley took over for good.
Winner of the 21 Means 21 Pole Award - Gary Gaulding
He led the final 89 laps of the race and won by 0.178 seconds over Self.
"We were so free on restarts, scary free," Self said. "We dropped back a couple positions there a couple of times. It took us a good five or six laps for us to go. Thankfully this was a long-run race. We were able to catch back up to him a couple of times. Those last 20 laps were probably the hardest laps I've ever logged there."
Gaulding's car cut a tire and he crashed into the wall on lap 112. He finished in 21st place.
Eric Holmes was third, followed by David Mayhew in fourth.
"I was hoping Michael and Eric would mix it up a bit and give us a shot at it" Holmes said. "I'm really proud of the NAPA team. Kinda struggled all year long and we got it turned around here at the end of the year. We got some really fast NAPA Toyotas right now."