It was a back-and-forth battle all day, but Chris Eggleston came out on top at Arizona’s Tucson Speedway.
Leading 80 of 150 laps in the NAPA Auto Parts Tucson 150, Eggleston beat pole-sitter and defending NASCAR K&N Pro Series West champion Todd Gilliland to the line to take his sixth career NASCAR K&N Pro Series West victory with his No. 99 NAPA Filters Toyota.
The 27-year-old from Erie, Colorado native, said he stepped up his game for the second half of the event and is grateful to start the 2017 season off in victory lane after a doubtful off-season.
In a way, the same can be said for second-place finisher Gilliland. Leading a total of 70 laps throughout the night, the 16-year-old from Sherrills Ford, North Carolina, and his No. 16 NAPA Auto Parts Toyota held off the pack on numerous late restarts to bring it home in the runner-up position for the second straight year at Tucson. The result also continues a streak of nine consecutive top-10 finishes.
One of the drivers Gilliland had to hold off was 20-year-old Garrett Archer. In only his second K&N West start, the Maple Valley, Washington, driver jumped his No. 27 Recruit 4 Business Ford to the outside lane on the final restart, advancing from sixth to second until Gilliland re-passed him for the spot. Still, a third-place result is a positive way to kick off the year, he says.
In what was a relatively clean night of racing, there were still a handful of single-car spins that halted the action. Salvatore Iovino, who spun in final practice earlier in the day, continued to struggle with the car’s handling, losing his No. 38 Infinite Wireless Chevrolet on three occasions in the 150-lapper.
He was not the only one, as Riley Herbst and Rich DeLong III also lost their cars on each end of the track.
On the positive end, Zane Smith came home with a top-five finish in fourth followed by Will Rodgers in fifth, while Derek Kraus, Brandon Schilling, Kody Vanderwal and Nicole Behar rounded out top 10.
Eggleston’s victory at Tucson, also put him in the position to win $100,000. As a part of the NAPA 500 Challenge, should a driver win all four races, they will take home the steep money bonus.
The NASCAR K&N Pro Series West will be back in action for race two of the NAPA 500 Challenge Thursday, March 23 at California’s Kern County Raceway Park.
NASCAR K&N Pro Series West
Tucson Speedway – Tucson, AZ
NAPA Auto Parts Tucson 150 – March 18, 2017
|1||2||99||Chris Eggleston||NAPA Filters Toyota||150||48||5||Running|
|2||1||16||Todd Gilliland||NAPA Auto Parts Toyota||150||43||1||Running|
|3||16||27||Garret Archer *||Recruit 4 Business Ford||150||41||Running|
|4||4||9||Zane Smith *||Lucas Oil, Eibach, Sunrise Ford Ford||150||40||Running|
|5||8||7||Will Rodgers *||Craft Beer Racing Ford||150||39||Running|
|6||3||19||Derek Kraus *||Carlyle Tools Toyota||150||38||Running|
|7||14||30||Brandon Schilling *||Tucson Speedway Ford||150||37||Running|
|8||15||32||Kody Vanderwal *||Trident Processes/ Billtrite Sign/Becker Safety Ford||150||36||Running|
|9||6||54||Riley Herbst||UFC Gym/NOS Toyota||150||35||Running|
|10||12||33||Nicole Behar||Custom Welding & Fabrication Toyota||150||34||Running|
|11||10||21||Blaine Perkins||Four Star Fruit Chevrolet||150||33||Running|
|12||7||6||Julia Landauer||Lucas Oil, Eibach, Sunrise Ford Ford||150||32||Running|
|13||9||10||Matt Levin||Port of Tucson/Risk Management Chevrolet||150||31||Running|
|14||5||40||Ron Norman||Port of Tucson Chevrolet||150||30||Running|
|15||13||90||Trevor Cristiani *||Rocky Mountain Racing Supply/Idaho Gasket||149||29||Running|
|16||18||11||Takuma Koga||Maluzen CKB-JKR Chevrolet||148||28||Running|
|17||20||14||Dan Phillippi *||Next Level Physical Therapy, J127, Inc Ford||148||27||Running|
|18||19||18||Bill Kann||B&B Motorsports Toyota||147||26||Running|
|19||23||84||Rich DeLong III||Country Girl Saloon/Ron’s Rear Ends Chevrolet||145||25||Running|
|20||21||36||Jesse Iwuji||The Red List Group, Lights Out, Rabbit Coffee||145||24||Running|
|21||22||38||Salvatore Iovino *||Shakeaway Shakes, Infinite Wireless Chevrolet||138||23||Running|
|22||11||13||Todd Souza||Central Coast Cabinets Toyota||111||22||Running|
|23||24||0||Bobby Hillis||First Impression Press/Lindys Lighting Chevrolet||15||21||Brakes|
|24||17||5||Justin Funkhouser||Funkhouser Motorsports Chevrolet||1||20||Brakes|
Fastest Qualifier: Todd Gilliland, Time: 16.064 Seconds, Speed: 84.039 mph
Time of Race: 1 hrs., 1 mins, 26 secs Average Speed: 54.938 mph Margin of Victory: .684 Seconds
Caution Flags: Laps 19-22 (Car 36 Spun Turn 1); 26-29 (38 Spun Turn 3 & 4); 76-78 (Halfway Break); 81-87 (Car 84 Spun Turn 4); 121-126 (54 Spun Turn 3 &4); 131-134 (38 Spun Turn 1 & 2). 6 for 28 laps.
Lap Leaders: Todd Gilliland 1-4, Chris Eggleston 5-24, Todd Gilliland 25-30, Chris Eggleston 31, Todd Gilliland 32-91, Chris Eggleston 92-150.
Total Laps Led: Chris Eggleston 80, Todd Gilliland 70. 5 changes involving 2 drivers.
Top 10 Driver Points: Chris Eggleston 48, Todd Gilliland 43, Garret Archer * 41, Zane Smith * 40, Will Rodgers * 39, Derek Kraus * 38, Brandon Schilling * 37, Kody Vanderwal * 36, Riley Herbst 35, Nicole Behar 34
* – Denotes Sunoco Rookie of the Year contender