Bakersfield, CA – Todd Gilliland’s unbeaten streak has reached historic proportions.
The 15-year-old Sherrills Ford, North Carolina, driver went from third to first following a late-race restart at Kern County Raceway Park en route to capturing Saturday night’s NAPA Auto Parts 150. It was Gilliland’s second NASCAR K&N Pro Series West win in as many starts this season. More impressively, it was Gilliland’s fourth win in his first four career NASCAR K&N Pro Series starts.
With the win, Gilliland matched the record set by International Motorsports Hall of Famer Dan Gurney. Gurney won the first four NASCAR Pacific Coast Late Model Series races he entered — combination races with the then-Grand National Series at California’s old Riverside Speedway. The Pacific Coast Late Model, which began in 1954, has evolved into the current NASCAR K&N Pro Series West.
Gilliland’s win streak, which started at Phoenix in the K&N Pro West finale last November, also includes the NASCAR K&N Pro Series East opener at Florida’s New Smyrna Speedway in February and the K&N Pro Series West opener at California’s Irwindale Speedway earlier this month. Gilliland, Gurney, NASCAR Hall of Famer Tim Flock (two straight) and 2015 Daytona 500 winner Joey Logano (two straight) are the only drivers in the history of the K&N Pro Series to win at least their first two career series starts.
The latest win may have been the toughest.
Gilliland’s No. 16 NAPA Auto Parts Toyota lost the lead to Ryan Partridge following a Lap 132 restart, in which the caution flag came out for a wreck behind the leaders immediately after the green flag flew. Before the yellow, though, Gilliland not only lost the top spot, but also second place to Partridge’s teammate Cole Rouse.
Following a lengthy red flag for cleanup, Gilliland quickly dispatched of Rouse, and then tracked down Partridge to make the pass and lead the final nine laps.
Partridge settled for his second runner-up finish of the season, while rookies Rouse and Riley Herbst, and defending series champion, Chris Eggleston, rounded out the top five.
Gilliland was fastest in practice, won his second 21 Means 21 Pole Award presented by Coors Light of the K&N Pro Series West season. He then went on to lead three times for a race-high 54 laps on the three-year-old high-speed-half-mile.
David Mayhew, making his 100th career K&N Pro West start, led 31 laps and appeared to be in position to spoil Gilliland’s streak. However, the series veteran cut a tire shortly after the halfway break and fell out of contention.
Mayhew came back to finished sixth, followed by Gracin Raz, Noah Gragson, Johnny Borneman and Julia Landauer.
The NAPA Auto Parts 150 at Kern County Raceway Park will air on NBCSN on Friday, April 8 at 11 p.m. EST.
Todd Gilliland will continue to chase history on April 16 as he’s entered in the NASCAR K&N Pro Series East race at Bristol Motor Speedway, and the NASCAR K&N Pro Series West will return to action May 7 at Arizona’s Tucson Speedway.
NASCAR K&N PRO SERIES WEST-NAPA Auto Parts 150 Results
At Kern County Raceway Park
Lap length: 0.5 miles
(Start position in parentheses)
- (1) Todd Gilliland, Sherrils Ford, N.C., Toyota, 150 laps, 58.708 mph.
- (14) Ryan Partridge, Rancho Cucamonga, Calif., Ford, 150.
- (4) Cole Rouse, Fort Smith, Ark., Ford, 150.
- (3) Riley Herbst, Las Vegas, Nev., Toyota, 150.
- (2) Chris Eggleston, Erie, Colo., Toyota, 150.
- (7) David Mayhew, Atascadero, CA, Chevrolet, 150.
- (11) Gracin Raz, Lake Oswego, Ore., Ford, 150.
- (13) Noah Gragson, Las Vegas, NV, Ford, 150.
- (5) Johnny Borneman, Ramona, CA, Ford, 150.
- (6) Julia Landauer, New York, N.Y., Toyota, 150.
- (15) Ron Norman, Tucson, Ariz., Ford, 150.
- (19) Rich DeLong III, Santa Clarita, Calif., Chevrolet, 149.
- (20) John Wood, Eagle, ID, Chevrolet, 149.
- (23) Jesse Iwuji, Dallas, Texas, Chevrolet, 146.
- (17) Juan Esteban Garcia, Bogota, Colombia, Chevrolet, 144, tire.
- (9) Blaine Perkins, Bakersfield, Calif., Chevrolet, 135.
- (16) Matt Levin, Tucson, Ariz., Ford, 132, accident.
- (8) Parker Stephens, Olympia, Wash., Chevrolet, 125, accident.
- (12) Buddy Shepherd, Bakersfield, CA, Ford, 122.
- (21) Colton Nelson, Meridian, Idaho, Ford, 95, accident.
- (22) Jack Sellers, Sacramento, CA, Chevrolet, 41, accident.
- (10) Blaine Rocha, Oakdale, Calif., Chevrolet, 9, radiator.
- (18) Takuma Koga, Nagoya, Japan, Chevrolet, 5, accident.
Time of Race: 1 hour 16 minutes 39 seconds
Margin of Victory: 1.287 seconds
Fastest Qualifier: T.Gilliland * (100.161 mph, 17.971 seconds)
Caution Flags: 8 for 40 laps.
Lead Changes: 9 among 4 drivers.
Lap Leaders: T. Gilliland 1-26; D. Mayhew 27-29; J. Borneman 30-49; D. Mayhew 50-57; R. Partridge 58-60; D. Mayhew 61-80; R. Partridge 81-112; T. Gilliland 113-131; R. Partridge 132-141; T. Gilliland 142-150.
Standings: 1. T. Gilliland, 95; 2. R. Partridge, 86; 3. C. Eggleston, 81; 4. R. Herbst, 78; 5. C. Rouse, 76; 6. N. Gragson, 76; 7. J. Borneman, 75; 8. J. Landauer, 70; 9. G. Raz, 69; 10. R. Norman, 64.
Story by: NASCAR PR
Photo Credit: NASCAR / Getty Images