The NASCAR K&N Pro Series East season began with sparks and confetti flying at New Smyrna Speedway (FL). In a wild and controversial finish that saw Spencer Davis crash hard, and Ronnie Bassett take the checkered flag, it was Todd Gilliland who was declared the victor.
An error by NASCAR resulted in the race running 151 laps instead of the scheduled 150. NASCAR reverted to who was leading at the start/finish line at lap 150, which was Gilliland.
In a statement, NASCAR said, “As tonight’s race neared the conclusion of the advertised distance, there was a delay in the appropriate flags being displayed to the field. As a result, the race continued for an additional lap beyond the scheduled 150 laps, during which a wreck occurred involving the cars at the front of the field.
“Per the NASCAR K&N Pro Series rule book Section 10-2.11.B, the official results reverted the running order at the conclusion of lap 150, the advertised distance. NASCAR will review the circumstances surrounding the finish and take steps to avoiding a reoccurrence.”
After Gilliland dominated much of the JET Tools 150, it was Davis who was the leader on a late restart. Davis and Gilliland ran side-by-side for what were supposed to be the final five laps of the season-opener.
They went into turn three door-to-door on the final lap, and Bassett tried to squeeze his way in there as well. Hard contact ensued between Bassett on the bottom, Gilliland in the middle and Davis on the outside and the result was Davis going hard into the turn four wall.
Bassett took the checkered flag, which was displayed on lap 151 instead of lap 150, just ahead of Gilliland.
Bassett was circling the track on his victory lap with the checkered flag in-hand, until, after a bit of deliberation, Gilliland was declared the winner over Davis, Bassett, Kyle Benjamin and Justin Haley.
“I don’t really know what happened, but it all ended up being okay for us,” said Gilliland after his first K&N East win. “I pulled in third and they told me to go to victory lane.”
Davis was able to exit his destroyed No. 41 machine under his own power and offered his opinion on the finish of the race.
“We go into three and Ronnie Bassett, I don’t know what line he saw, but he must have saw something,” Davis said. “He was down on the flat. It’s unfortunate. He just ran us both over, man.
“It was a really hard hit. My shoulders hurt a bit from the straps, but I’ll be fine. I’m walking, and I’ve got to thank the Lord for that. That was a real hard hit.”
Bassett, who ended up being scored third, was also left wondering what exactly happened and why the win was taken away from him.
“I really don’t know what happened,” said Bassett. “The two leaders got together in three and four and off four all of us were racing for the win. We crossed the line first and now they say we finished third or second or whatever it is. It is what it is and we’ll on to the next one.”
What was missed in the cloud of controversy is a phenomenal feat by 15 year-old Gilliland. In his first K&N Pro Series performance last fall, at Phoenix Int’l Raceway, he won the K&N West finale. Now, in his first appearance on the K&N East circuit, he visited victor lane once again. Todd, the son of NASCAR Sprint Cup Series veteran David Gilliand, now has two starts and two victories in K&N Pro Series competition.
A complete on-demand recap of Sunday night’s JET Tools 150 Race Central Live coverage can be found here.
NASCAR K&N PRO SERIES EAST-Jet Tools 150 Results
- (1) Todd Gilliland, Sherrills Ford, N.C., Toyota, 150 laps.
- (2) Spencer Davis, Dawsonville, Ga., Chevrolet, 150.
- (13) Ronnie Bassett, Jr., Winston-Salem, N.C., Ford, 150.
- (12) Kyle Benjamin, Easley, S.C., Chevrolet, 150.
- (11) Justin Haley, Winamac, Ind., Chevrolet, 150.
- (8) Noah Gragson, Las Vegas, Nev., Ford, 150.
- (21) Ryan Preece, Berlin, Conn., Chevrolet, 150.
- (5) Tyler Dippel, Wallkill, N.Y., Chevrolet, 150.
- (17) Riley Herbst, Las Vegas, Nev., Toyota, 150.
- (3) Dominique Van Wieringen, Amherstburg, Ont., Ford, 150.
- (10) Collin Cabre, Tampa, Fla., Toyota, 150.
- (16) Gracin Raz, Lake Oswego, Ore., Ford, 150.
- (9) Harrison Burton, Huntersville, N.C., Toyota, 150.
- (24) Trey Hutchens, Lexington, N.C., Chevrolet, 150.
- (6) Kaz Grala, Westborough, Mass., Toyota, 150.
- (29) David Calabrese, Toms River, N.J., Ford, 150.
- (18) Reid Wilson, Huntersville, N.C., Chevrolet, 150.
- (28) John Holleman, IV, Winston-Salem, N.C., Ford, 150.
- (26) Codie Rohrbaugh, Petersburg, W.Va., Chevrolet, 150.
- (25) Ali Kern, Fremont, Ohio, Toyota, 150.
- (20) Ruben Garcia Jr., Mexico City, Mexico, Toyota, 150.
- (23) Sarah Cornett-Ching, Summerland, B.C., Chevrolet, 149.
- (7) Jairo Avila Jr., Alhambra, Calif., Toyota, 149.
- (4) Austin Theriault, Fort Kent, Maine, Toyota, 148.
- (22) Clayton Green, Marble Falls, Texas, Toyota, 147.
- (27) Christian Celaya, Caborca, Mexico, Toyota, 147.
- (15) Dillon Bassett, Winston-Salem, N.C., Ford, 147.
- (19) Ulysse Delsaux, Troyes, France, Toyota, 144.
- (14) Hunter Baize, Bremen, Ky., Chevrolet, 97, accident.
Time of Race: 0 hours 0 minutes 0 seconds
Margin of Victory:
Fastest Qualifier: T.Gilliland * (94.333 mph, 18.318 seconds)
Caution Flags: 4 for 26 laps.
Lead Changes: 4 among 3 drivers.
Lap Leaders: S. Davis 1-15; K. Grala 16-24; T. Gilliland 25-114; S. Davis 115-149; T. Gilliland 150.
Standings: 1. T. Gilliland, 48; 2. S. Davis, 43; 3. R. Bassett,Jr., 41; 4. K. Benjamin, 40; 5. J. Haley, 39; 6. N. Gragson, 38; 7. R. Preece, 37; 8. T. Dippel, 36; 9. R. Herbst, 35; 10. D. Van Wieringen, 34.
Sportsman Unofficial Results:
|5||11||Daniel Conlin Jr|
|6||25||Timmy Todd Jr|
-By Rob Blount, Speed51.com Southeast Editor – Twitter: @RobBlount
-Photo Credit: Speed51.com/Bruce Nuttleman