DAYTONA BEACH, Fla. -- Third-generation driver Todd Gilliland has the chance to make NASCAR K&N Pro Series history Saturday at Tennessee’s Bristol Motor Speedway.
The 15-year-old Sherrills Ford, North Carolina, native will look to become the first driver in NASCAR K&N Pro Series East and NASCAR K&N Pro Series West history to win their first five career starts. He’s currently tied for the feat with Dan Gurney after his victory at California’s Kern County Raceway Park.
While the spotlight will be on Gilliland, the PittLite125 will be an exciting race for the K&N East championship standings. Spencer Davis heads into Bristol in the top spot with 125 points. The 17-year-old Dawsonville, Georgia, native hasn’t finished worst then sixth in his last seven series starts.
Davis’ Ranier Racing with MDM teammate and last year’s winner, Kyle Benjamin, trails close behind with 122 points and is on the hunt to become the series’ first two-time victor at Thunder Valley.
PLACE: Bristol (Tenn.) Motor Speedway
DATE: Saturday, April 16
TIME: 4:30 p.m. ET
TV SCHEDULE: NBCSN, Friday, April 22 at 1:00 a.m. ET
TRACK LAYOUT: .533-mile high-banked oval
2015 WINNER: Kyle Benjamin
2015 POLE WINNER: Jesse Little
EVENT SCHEDULE: Friday, April 15 – Garage opens: 2 p.m.; Practice: 6-6:45 p.m.; Final Practice: 7-7:20 p.m.; Group Qualifying: 7:30 p.m.; Garage closes: 9:30 p.m.; Saturday, April 16 – Garage opens: 11 a.m.; Driver Autograph session: 11 a.m.-12 p.m.; PittLite125: 4:30 p.m.
TRACK TWITTER: @BMSUpdates
EVENT HASHTAG: #PittLite125
The Race: The PittLite125 at Bristol Motor Speedway is the fourth race of the 2016 NASCAR K&N Pro Series East season. It is the fourth of 10 oval track events and 14 races overall on the schedule. This will be the series’ fifth visit to the iconic high-banked Tennessee oval.
The Procedure: The maximum starting field is 36 cars, including provisionals. The first 32 cars will qualify through the group qualifying session while the remaining four spots will be awarded through the provisional process. The 125 lap race, spanning 66.625 miles, will be run in two segments with a five minute break at or near the conclusion of Lap 70.
The Track: Opened in 1961 and hosted its first NASCAR Sprint Cup Series race on July 30, 1961 won by Jack Smith. It was originally names Bristol International Speedway until 1978 and was then renamed Bristol International Raceway until 1996 when it became Bristol Motor Speedway. The Thunder Valley, was .5-miles from 1961-69 before becoming .527-miles for one year in 1969. In 1970, it became the familiar .533-mile track seen today. The concrete oval has 600-foot straightaways with five to nine degrees of banking on the front stretch and four to eight degrees on the backstretch. The turns are progressively banked from 24 to 28 degrees and the racing surface s 40 feet wide.
The Records: The one-lap qualifying record for the series at Bristol is held by Jesse Little at 15.891 seconds (120.748 seconds) and was established on April 18, 2015. The 125-Lap race record of one hour two minutes and six seconds (65.402 mph) was set on March 17, 2012 by Nelson Piquet Jr. in a race that was extended to 127 laps.
BRISTOL RACE NOTES
Chevrolet the Car to Beat at Thunder Valley: In the first four series races at Thunder Valley, Chevrolets have rolled in to Victory Lane two times. Toyota and Ford have each recorded one win apiece, in the inaugural race in 2012 and last season, respectively.
Staying Out Front: The last three races at Bristol have seen only one lead change throughout the 125-lap features. The inaugural race in 2012 has set the series high at the .533-mile track, with four lead changes.
MacDonald to Make First Start of 2016: NASCAR K&N Pro Series East veteran Eddie MacDonald is set to make his first start of the 2016 season. MacDonald has recorded seven wins, 35 top fives and 92 top 10s in 187 series starts. One of his victories occurred at Bristol in 2014.
Little Looks For Bristol Redemption: NASCAR Next driver Jesse Little will be making his second start of the season. Last year's Bristol pole winner will be looking to redeem himself at Thunder Valley after finishing 25th in the PittLite125 one year ago. Things are looking up for the 19-year-old Sherrills Ford, N.C., native, in his lone start this year at Mobile (Ala.) International Speedway he finished third after starting 14th.
Finchum To Make Season Debut: Chad Finchum will be making his first NASCAR K&N Pro Series East start of 2016 at Bristol this weekend. The 21-year-old, Knoxville, Tennessee, driver will be making his debut with his new team Martin-McClure Racing. In his three starts at the Tennessee oval, Finchum has finished seventh (2012), 34th (2013) and 17th (2015). Finchum will be joined by teammate, Caleb Holman, who is set to make his NASCAR K&N Pro Series East debut
New Qualifying Format to Take Place This Weekend: The PittLite125 will feature a new qualifying procedure this weekend. Instead of the traditional two-lap time trials, group qualifying similar to road course procedures, will be utilized. Each group will participate in a five-minute session and the fastest single lap speed of each car will determine the first 32 starting positions.
-NASCAR Home Tracks Press Release
-Photo Credit: NASCAR / Getty Images