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K&N Pro Series Driver Todd Gilliland Wins His Second Pro Series West Championship

NASCAR, K&N Pro Series West, Todd Gilliland, Bill McAnally Racing

Bill McAnally Racing driver Todd Gilliland won the 2017 NASCAR K&N Pro Series West championship.

Todd Gilliland didn’t need to win the NASCAR K&N Pro Series West season finale at Kern County Raceway Park, in California, to secure his second series title in a row. But it would have been nice.

Gilliland was the runner-up in the West Coast Stock Car Hall of Fame Championship 150 presented by Napa Auto Parts, the final race of the 2017 NASCAR K&N Pro Series West season.

Gilliland needed to finish in seventh place or higher to win the K&N Pro Series West championship. Chris Eggleston, who entered the season finale in second place in the West Series standings, had a flat tire on lap 65 and had to pit. When he returned to the race, he was several laps down and out of contention.

That left Gilliland in a race against the track. All he needed to do was bring the car home in one piece to secure his second K&N Pro Series West championship. Eggleston ended up in second place in the K&N Pro Series West standings.

The runner-up finish in the race at Kern County gave Gilliland 11 top-fives in 14 K&N Pro Series West races. He won the K&N Pro Series West championship by 29 points over Eggleston. The two drivers posted the same amount of top-five finishes, 11, and top-10 finishes, 13. The difference was in races won.

Gilliland won six races en route to his second K&N Pro Series West title in a row. Gilliland and Eggleston, his teammate at Bill McAnally Racing, combined to win 10 of the 14 K&N Pro Series West races in 2017.

“That makes it definitely very interesting in the team meeting,” Gilliland said about having Eggleston as a teammate and championship contender. “Overall, I think Bill let us race as hard as we could. I feel like he did a great job balancing that for us. I feel like we pushed each other a lot this year to be the best we could be. That’s a lot of why we finished 1-2 in the points.”

NASCAR, K&N Pro Series West, Todd Gilliland, Bill McAnally Racing

Todd Gilliland won the pole and finished in second place in the K&N Pro Series West season finale.

Gilliland said he celebrated his championship by going to Southern California for his grandmother’s 90th birthday. His team also had a night of go-kart racing and a celebration dinner.

Gilliland ran the entire K&N Pro Series East schedule as well. He came into the final race of the East Series schedule with the lead in the standings. But Gilliland blew a tire and crashed in the K&N Pro Series East finale at Dover International Speedway in Delaware, effectively taking him out of the lead in the K&N Pro Series East standings. He finished in 13th place in the race at Dover. Harrison Burton won the race and the K&N Pro Series East championship.

“To come this close to getting them both is tough also,” Gilliland said after winning the K&N Pro Series West championship at Kern County. “It’s all part of racing, the 99 (Eggleston) had a tire issue tonight, so hard saying what could have happened if we didn’t have one.”

Gilliland said a big part of winning the K&N Pro Series West championship came at the beginning of the year. The first four races were in a span of seven days at three tracks, Tucson Speedway, Kern County Raceway Park and Irwindale Speedway.

“That was a pretty big part of our season right there and we were able to come out of there with three wins and a second,” Gilliland said. “That set a good tone for the beginning of our season. From there we stayed in the lead all the way until the championship. It was pretty good. Definitely had a lot of battles with our teammates. It was a lot of fun for sure.”

Rookie Derek Kraus won the first race of his K&N Pro Series West career at Kern County. He posted three runner-up finishes in his rookie season. In the K&N Pro Series West race at Meridian Speedway in Idaho in September, he had the lead on the final restart. But he lost his lead to Michael Self, who went on to win the race. Kraus dropped to fifth place at the checkered flag. Kraus wasn’t going to make the same mistake at Kern County.

NASCAR, K&N Pro Series West, Todd Gilliland, Bill McAnally Racing

Todd Gilliland won six races en route to his second NASCAR K&N Pro Series West championship in a row

“I knew at Meridian there was going to be a yellow with just a few to go,” Kraus said. “Luckily tonight that didn’t happen. I’m sure it was close, probably a few times, luckily it didn’t happen and we didn’t have a final restart.”

Gilliland said he will probably race a few NASCAR K&N Pro Series events in 2018. He is ready to move up in NASCAR and will enter more Camping World Truck Series events next year. Racing in the K&N Pro Series has prepared him immensely for the next step.

“It’s just a huge deal to be able to compete in this series,” Gilliland said. “Nothing’s possible without the support of K&N. Definitely want to thank them for everything they’ve done.”


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