For the second year in a row, Todd Gilliland dominated the Casey’s General Store 150 K&N Pro Series East/West combination race at Iowa Speedway. This year the implications were more significant, as drivers are allowed to run for championships in both the K&N West and K&N East Series’.
Although it was his Bill McAnally Racing teammates Derek Kraus and Chris Eggleston that qualified on the front row, Gilliland promptly took the lead three laps in. This lead would be held for the remainder of the 150-lap race except for just briefly when lapped traffic held Gilliland up and allowed Ben Kennedy to get ahead late in the race. Once Gilliland had room to race, he took back the lead and ran away from the field once again.
At the halfway break, Gilliland said the car was “really good” and they opted to only make small tire adjustments for the second half. Chris Lawson, Gilliland’s crew chief, told Speed51.com that they made the air pressure changes to help drive off the turn. Although these were not large changes, Gilliland did not take them lightly.
“I think if we did not make those changes, we may not have won the race.” Gilliland said. “This was a big win for us.”
Being able to run for both championships, the victory means Gilliland will be credited with a win in the West and the East Series. This helps him extend his lead in the K&N West Series, and he now trails Harrison Burton by only six points in the K&N East Series.
Chase Purdy, who drives for David Gilliland Racing, quietly raced his way to a second-place finish but was not able to make the final move despite having a late restart.
“I needed a really good restart, like the restart of my life,” Purdy told Speed51.com after the race. “His car just turned better than ours did and he got off the corner better than we did.”
Chris Eggleston finished third, but seemed almost as happy with his finish as his teammate in victory lane.
“This track was a big question mark going into the season with how terrible we have ran here previously,” Eggleston stated. “To get third place means a lot to me and the team going into Evergreen Speedway.”
In the end, the field was unable to beat the number 16 BMR entry, and the team brought home a fourth straight K&N race win at Iowa Speedway.
The next race for the K&N East Series will take place Friday, August 4 at Watkins Glen International (NY). The next race for the K&N West Series is Saturday, August 12 at Evergreen Speedway (WA).
For on-demand Trackside Now coverage of Friday's race, click here.
NASCAR K&N Pro Series East/West Results
Iowa Speedway - July 28, 2017
|10||04||Ronnie Bassett Jr|
|13||6||Ruben Garcia Jr|