HAMPTON, Va. (Sept. 4, 2017) – A win by Todd Gilliland in the Visit Hampton Virginia 150 at Langley Speedway on Monday propelled him into the lead in the championship standings for the NASCAR K&N Pro Series East.
The 17-year-old from Sherrills Ford, North Carolina has been on a hot streak this summer in the Bill McAnally Racing No. 16 NAPA AUTO PARTS Toyota Camry.
Monday’s victory at the historic Hampton, Virginia track marked his fourth series win in six races, along with a couple of runner-up finishes; and gave him a six-point lead in the standings. Gilliland, who is running the full schedules in the East and West divisions of the NASCAR K&N Pro Series, is the first driver in the history of the series to lead both divisions at the same time. He has led the K&N West standings since the second race of the year, and holds a five-point advantage as the defending champion in that division.
Not even a month off between K&N East events, including a two-day delay for the Langley race due to inclement weather, was enough to slow down the momentum of the NASCAR Next driver.
Gilliland led the way in practice on the .396-mile Langley oval and won his first pole award of the year in time trials. After leading the initial laps of the race, he appeared content to settle in and run in second. He charged back into the lead with about 40 laps to go and pulled away for the win.
“We were riding, trying to save our tires quite a bit,” Gilliland said. “We rode in second a long time. We just kind of kept the same pace the whole race and at the end our NAPA Toyota was fast enough to be able to take the lead and set sail.”
Gilliland’s move into the lead in the standings comes with just two events remaining of a 14-race schedule. He has four wins, nine top-five, and 12 top-10 finishes in 12 starts this season.
He reflected about how his season has turned around, after setbacks early in the year put him behind in the standings.
“It’s definitely been a huge stretch for us, with the bad luck to start the season off,” he said. “I always knew in my heart that we were going to be the ones to beat, but it’s tough in those times when you don’t get the finish to show how well you ran. I’m just really proud of everyone on this NAPA AUTO PARTS team for never giving up. It’s started to pay off.”
Gilliland was on the go this weekend, doing double duty in two different series, at two different race tracks, in two different countries. He competed in the NASCAR Camping World Truck Series race on a road course in Canada on Sunday before heading to Virginia for the K&N East race on Monday.
“It was pretty busy, starting off in Canada from Friday to Sunday,” Gilliland said. “Road courses are very physical, too. My neck is a little sore today, and I was a little tired from the drive back last night – but it was definitely a dream weekend for me.”
The Langley race – which is slated to air on NBCSN on Sept. 7 at 7 p.m. ET – was scheduled to be run on Saturday, but because of persistent rain in the forecast was postponed to Monday.
The next event on the K&N Pro Series East schedule will be the JustDrive.com 125 at New Jersey Motorsports Park in Millville, New Jersey on Sept. 16.
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Kevin W. Green
Bill McAnally Racing