POST FALLS, Idaho — They came across the finish line, two of NASCAR’s rising young stars, leaning on one another as sparks flew and sheet metal crunched Saturday night. In the end, it was 16-year-old Todd Gilliland who took the checkered flag in the Toyota NAPA 150 and celebrated in Victory Lane on the quarter-mile, after edging fellow NASCAR Next driver Noah Gragson by inches.
Gilliland crossed the finish line .004 seconds in front of the 17-year-old from Las Vegas.
It was the only lap Gilliland’s No. 16 NAPA Auto Parts Toyota led all night. But it was enough to give the third-generation driver from Sherrils Ford, North Carolina, his third West win and fourth K&N Pro win overall in his rookie season.
Multiple cautions pushed the race to a second green-white-checkered finish and to 166 laps.
Gragson led the final restart and was a nose ahead at the line taking the white flag. But Gilliland got a strong run off Turn 4 coming to the checkered, and powered forward despite having his car pinched against the outside wall by Gragson’s No. 7 Speed Vegas/Alert ID/Colliers International Ford as they crossed under the flag stand.
The Toyota NAPA 150 is the second NASCAR K&N Pro Series race to be decided by less than .01 seconds this season. Spencer Davis edged Justin Haley by .005 seconds in the NASCAR K&N Pro Series East race at Virginia’s Dominion Speedway in May. Gragson was third in that race.
Chris Eggleston was third in a bittersweet finish. Earlier in the day, the defending series champion earned his first career Coors Light Pole Award. He led a race-high 73 laps. But he was collected in a spin by Gilliland on Lap 92. The two Bill McAnally Racing teammates quickly sliced back through the field, but it was Gilliland who got to the front first and Eggleston had to settle for a podium finish.
Gragson’s teammate Gracin Raz overcame a black flag — for jumping the restart while leading on Lap 91 — to finish fourth, and Julia Landauer rounded out the top five.
Cole Rouse was sixth, followed by Riley Herbst, Will Rodgers, Matt Levin and championship points leader Ryan Partridge.
Partridge saw his chance for the win disappear on the first green-white-checkered attempt when he spun in Turn 4 coming to the white flag. Partridge got hung on the outside when Gilliland made it three-wide under Partridge and Gragson on the initial restart.
That set up the final duel between Gilliland and Gragson.
Partridge holds a three-point lead on Gilliland. Eggleston is 10 points behind Gilliland and Gragson is another four points back after seven of the series’ 14 races.
The NASCAR K&N Pro Series West will next race in the annual combination showdown with the NASCAR K&N Pro Series East at Iowa Speedway on Friday, July 28.
The Toyota NAPA 150 will air on NBCSN on Friday, July 15 at 2 p.m. ET.
(For a full recap click here for 51’s Trackside Now coverage)
NASCAR K&N PRO SERIES WEST-Toyota/NAPA Auto Parts 150 Results at Stateline Speedway, Post Falls, ID
Lap length: 0.25 miles
(Start position in parentheses)
- (7) Todd Gilliland, Sherrils Ford, N.C., Toyota, 166 laps, 36.798 mph.
- (3) Noah Gragson, Las Vegas, NV, Ford, 166.
- (1) Chris Eggleston, Erie, Colo., Toyota, 166.
- (6) Gracin Raz, Lake Oswego, Ore., Ford, 166.
- (9) Julia Landauer, New York, N.Y., Toyota, 166.
- (11) Cole Rouse, Fort Smith, Ark., Ford, 166.
- (14) Riley Herbst, Las Vegas, Nev., Toyota, 166.
- (15) Will Rodgers, Murrieta, Calif., Chevrolet, 166.
- (13) Matt Levin, Tucson, Ariz., Ford, 166.
- (2) Ryan Partridge, Rancho Cucamonga, Calif., Ford, 166.
- (8) Blaine Perkins, Bakersfield, Calif., Chevrolet, 166.
- (12) John Wood, Eagle, ID, Toyota, 166.
- (17) Stafford Smith, Eagle, Idaho., Chevrolet, 163.
- (5) Cole Moore, Granite Bay, Calif., Toyota, 163.
- (10) Ron Norman, Tucson, Ariz., Ford, 159, overheating.
- (4) Braeden Havens, Spokane, Wash., Chevrolet, 154, suspension.
- (19) Salvatore Iovino, Los Angeles, Calif., Toyota, 154.
- (16) Jesse Iwuji, Dallas, Texas, Toyota, 149.
- (18) Rich DeLong III, Santa Clarita, Calif., Chevrolet, 143, accident.
Time of Race: 1 hour 7 minutes 40 seconds
Margin of Victory: .004 seconds
Fastest Qualifier: C.Eggleston (65.114 mph, 13.822 seconds)
Caution Flags: 9 for 70 laps.
Lead Changes: 7 among 5 drivers.
Lap Leaders: C. Eggleston 0; R. Partridge 1; C. Eggleston 2-73; G. Raz 74-90; C. Eggleston 91; R. Partridge 92-139; N. Gragson 140-165; T. Gilliland 166.
Standings: 1. R. Partridge, 291; 2. T. Gilliland, 288; 3. C. Eggleston, 278; 4. N. Gragson, 274; 5. G. Raz, 263; 6. J. Landauer, 258; 7. C. Rouse, 253; 8. R. Herbst, 250; 9. M. Levin, 228; 10. R. Norman, 223.
-NASCAR Home Tracks Press Release
-Photo Credit: Speed51.com