ROSEVILLE, Calif. (May 16, 2017) – When it comes to short track racing, Orange Show Speedway features some of the tightest door-to-door action on the NASCAR K&N Pro Series West schedule.
The series returns to the historic fairgrounds track in San Bernardino, California for a 150-lap event on Saturday.
Passing is tough on the nearly flat, quarter-mile oval and series veterans like Chris Eggleston say the key to doing well is to start up front and stay up front.
Eggleston capitalized on problems for the leader in last year’s event and came away with a win. The driver of the No. 99 NAPA Filters / NAPA Power Premium Plus Toyota Camry for Bill McAnally Racing is looking to repeat.
“One of the biggest things at the Orange Show is making sure we have a good qualifying effort, because track position is so important there,” said Eggleston.
Once you have it, maintaining that track position is also a major challenge, according to the 2015 series champion, who hails from Erie, Colorado.
“There’s a lot of beating and banging,” Eggleston said. “You’ve got to play defense a lot, to keep everybody behind you. You can’t leave the bottom open, because people will start dive-bombing you.”
He and his BMR teammates head to Southern California with a lot of momentum, after winning the first five races this season. Eggleston is coming off a third-place finish in Washington at Spokane County Raceway on Saturday. He is second in the championship standings with one win and five top-five finishes this year.
Last year, one of Eggleston’s teammates at BMR, Todd Gilliland, experienced just how tight racing can be at Orange Show Speedway. Damage he incurred early in the event, when he was squeezed into the middle of three-wide racing, left him to finish fourth while dealing with handling issues.
Gilliland – a California native who now resides in Sherrills Ford, North Carolina – went on to have a sensational rookie season in the series; winning six races and capturing the championship behind the wheel of the No. 16 NAPA AUTO PARTS Toyota Camry. This year, the third-generation driver is running the full schedules in both the East and West divisions of the NASCAR K&N Pro Series.
Gilliland, who turned 17 on Monday, scored his fourth straight win at Spokane and leads the championship standings by 20 points over Eggleston. In qualifying, Gilliland has won a record five consecutive poles to open the season.
A third BMR driver, 15-year-old Derek Kraus, will be challenging the confines of Orange Show Speedway in K&N West action for the first time. The rookie from Stratford, Wisconsin drives the No. 19 Carlyle Tools / NAPA Power Premium Plus Toyota Camry for BMR. Coming off a second-place finish at Spokane, he is second in rookie points and third in championship standings. Kraus has with three top-five and four top-10 finishes this season, including two runner-up performances.
Fans will get the opportunity to meet Gilliland and Kraus in advance of the race and see the NAPA Toyota and BMR team hauler during a special appearance from 5 to 7 p.m. on Friday at the NAPA AUTO PARTS store in Hesperia, California.
A group of more than 100 NAPA store owners and shop owners, selected through a sales promotion, have been invited to Saturday’s race as special guests of BMR. Their trip to the speedway will include the opportunity for a behind-the-scenes VIP pit tour.
The Orange Show Speedway race, which is slated to be televised on NBCSN on May 26 at 5 p.m. PT, is the sixth on a 14-race series schedule this season. The track has hosted nine series events, dating back to 1968.
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Kevin W. Green
Bill McAnally Racing