Todd Gilliland gave car owner Bill McNally his third straight NASCAR K&N Pro Series victory on Friday night at Iowa Speedway in Newton, Iowa. Gilliland picked up his fourth West victory of the season and fifth overall of the season.
It was basically a two-car battle in the 150-lap event around the competitive 7/8-mile oval between Gilliland, and pole sitter Kyle Benjamin, who will be credited with the K&N East victory.
Benjamin would get the early lead with Gilliland close behind. They would swap the lead back and forth throughout the first half of the event. They gave the fans a great show by racing side-by-side for most of the first 75 laps.
“The battle between me and Kyle was super cool,” Gilliland said after the race. “I have never really raced with him but it was great. We never touched each other and he was right with me, I was right with him side by side. It was a lot of fun for sure.”
The halfway break came at the right time for Benjamin.
“We had a flat tire at the halfway break, the car was tight at the end of the first half so we had to loosen it up,” Benjamin explained after the race. “We didn’t want to loosen it up because of the flat tire but we did loosen it up and we just ended up loose at the end.”
After a five-minute halftime break, Gilliland charged to a three second lead over Riley Herbst as Benjamin fell back to fourth. Benjamin would rebound to finish second.
Austin Theriault would finish third with Colin Cabre in fourth. Ryan Partridge rounded out the top five.
“Me and the 40 (Benjamin) had pretty good battles there. It was great racing with him. We got away a little bit before halfway but knew we still had to make adjustments and everyone else was going to make adjustments too,” Gilliland said. “We made good adjustments during the break and I think it showed there at the end.”
Benjamin was hoping for the overall victory and stop the West’s streak of victories at Iowa Speedway, but had to settle for second overall tonight.
“We had a pretty good car to start with. The 16 (Gilliland) was pretty strong on the bottom, I was really surprised the run he was able to get off the corner compared to us running the top, so he was tough to beat,” explained Benjamin. “Once he moved up and kind of found the top he got around us. He was using the top and I got tight behind him, so I couldn’t really do anything so he got away from us.”
The victory wasn’t the only thing on Gilliland’s mind before and during the race. Two of his teammates, Chris Eggleston and Julia Landauer, had to change motors earlier in the day.
“When two of your teammates have something go wrong with their motors, it is always in the back of your mind,” Gilliland said. “There was nothing they could really do about it or control. You always think about that but these motors are pretty good and dependable and to have two of them go in one day is kind of rare, but you always think about it in those last few laps when you are up front.”
The NASCAR K&N Pro Series East will be back in action this Friday, August 5th at Watkins Glen International in Watkins Glen, New York.
The NASCAR K&N Pro Series West will head to Evergreen Speedway in Monroe, Washington on Saturday, August 13th.
NASCAR Home Tracks Race Central Live powered by Speed51.com replay at: http://speed51.com/rcl-nascar-kn-pro-series-eastwest-combo-iowa-speedway/
NASCAR K&N Pro Series East & West
Casey’s General Store 150
|1||16||Todd Gilliland (West)|
|2||40||Kyle Benjamin (East)|
|3||1||Austin Theriault (East)|
|4||2||Collin Cabre (East)|
|5||9||Ryan Partridge (West)|
|6||19||Riley Herbst (West)|
|7||5||Justin Haley (East)|
|8||13||Hunter Baize (East)|
|9||27||Gracin Raz (West)|
|10||49||John Holleman (East)|
|11||29||Jesse Little (East)|
|12||6||Cole Rouse (West)||-1|
|13||7||Noah Gragson (West)||-1|
|14||38||Tyler Dippel (East)||-1|
|15||55||Spencer Davis (East)||-1|
|16||21||Blaine Perkins (West)||-1|
|17||54||Julia Landauer (West)||-1|
|18||28||Dominique Van Wieringen (East)||-2|
|19||15||Trey Hutchens (East)||-2|
|20||42||JA Junior (East)||-2|
|21||09||Christian Celaya (East)||-3|
|22||75||Justin Fontaine (East)||-3|
|23||30||Ron Norman (West)||-4|
|24||06||Will Rodgers (West)||-4|
|25||50||Chris Eggleston (West)||-8|
|26||12||Harrison Burton (East)||-8|
|27||36||Jesse Iwuji (West)||-10|
|28||39||Dan Phillippi (West)||-11|
|29||4||Ali Kern (East)||-20|
|30||33||Chad Finchum (East)||BTW|
|31||14||Matt Levin (West)||OUT|
|32||02||Grant Quinlan (East)||OUT|
|33||66||Ruben Garcia Jr. (East)||OUT|
– Story by Kevin Ramsell & Caleb Soula, Speed51.com Correspondents