Gilliland Gets K&N West Title, Kraus Nabs First Series Win

Todd Gilliland won his second consecutive NASCAR K&N Pro Series West championship Saturday night at Kern County Racewap Park. Photo by Jonathan Moore/NASCAR via Getty Images

On a night where one Bill McAnally Racing teenager earned his first career win, another earned his second career NASCAR K&N Pro Series West championship.

Derek Kraus won the West Coast Stock Car Hall of Fame Championship 150 at Kern County Raceway Park for his first career NASCAR K&N Pro Series West victory while Todd Gilliland won the 2017 NASCAR K&N Pro Series West title.

The night belonged to NASCAR Next driver Todd Gilliland. He brought his No. 16 NAPA Auto Parts Toyota home in second-place, but it was more than enough to clinch his second straight championship.

“It feels great,” the 17-year-old from Sherrills Ford, North Carolina, said, soaked after a Victory Lane celebration. “All this hard work and dedication these guys put in, and it all comes down to this. To be able to get it done is very special.”

Coming into Kern, Gilliland needed to finish seventh or better, regardless of what teammate and championship rival Chris Eggleston did. Unfortunately for Eggleston, a flat tire on lap 65 forced him to go behind the wall for repairs and fall multiple laps down. He wound up finishing in 20th, three laps down.

“I was pretty confident,” Gilliland said of his mindset throughout the evening. “With the speed we had and the position we were able to ride in, I thought we were going to have a really good shot at the win. Always a little disappointed in that, but I’m very proud of our effort all season long. To be able to come home the 2017 champion two years in a row is really surreal, and we just have to take it all in.”

The title is the eighth in Bill McAnally Racing history and third consecutive (Eggleston in 2015, Gilliland in 2016 and 2017). The last time BMR won three titles in a row was from 1999-2001, when Sean Woodside and Brendan Gaughan (twice) brought home the hardware.

Derek Kraus won his first career NASCAR K&N Pro Series West race at Kern County Raceway Park to end the 2017 season Saturday night. Photo by Jonathan Moore/NASCAR via Getty Images

Kraus, Gilliland’s teammate, stopped Gilliland from winning his third consecutive race at Kern. The 16-year-old rookie from Stratford, Wisconsin, took the lead with 44 laps to go and didn’t look back. Kraus’ first career K&N Pro Series West win has been a longtime coming, he earned three runner-up finishes this season and had a win in his grasp multiple throughout the year. Most recently at Idaho’s Meridian Speedway, he had the lead on the final overtime restart, but it slipped away.

“That Meridian race was actually going through my mind those last 30 laps,” Kraus said in Victory Lane next to his No. 19 Carlyle Tools Toyota. “But it’s been a really good night with getting Rookie of the Year and getting a race win, my first race win. That’s really great for me and my career, and will help boost me into next season.”

The win allowed Kraus to clinch the Sunoco Rookie of the Year award over Will Rodgers, who he’d been battling with down the stretch. Kraus finishes the 2017 season with nine top fives, 10 top 10s, one pole and one victory.

Riley Herbst continued the BMR podium sweep finishing third while Michael Self and NASCAR K&N Pro Series East regular Dillon Bassett rounded out the top five.

Derek Thorn, Buddy Shepherd, Will Rodgers, Max Tullman and Nicole Behar completed the top 10.

NASCAR K&N Pro Series West
Kern County Raceway Park – Bakersfield, CA
West Coast Stock Car Hall of Fame Championship 150 – Nov. 4, 2017

Fin Str Car Driver Team Laps Points B/Points Status
1 2 19 Derek Kraus * Carlyle Tools Toyota 150 47 4
2 1 16 Todd Gilliland NAPA Auto Parts Toyota 150 43 1
3 3 54 Riley Herbst Terrible Herbst Toyota 150 41
4 8 9 Michael Self Sunrise Ford/Eibach Springs/Lucas Oil Ford 149 40
5 6 44 Dillon Bassett Bassett Gutters & More Toyota 149 41 2
6 9 22 Derek Thorn Sunrise Ford/Lucas Oil/Eibach Springs Ford 149 38
7 7 55 Buddy Shepherd * Hall Ambulance/H&S Body Works Ford 149 37
8 12 7 Will Rodgers * KELLY Benefit Strategies Ford 149 36
9 16 27 Max Tullman * Zoomi/Myota Ford 149 35
10 11 33 Nicole Behar Custom Welding & Fabrication Toyota 149 34
11 19 4 Rod Johnson, Jr. * Southwest Tenant Development Ford 149 33
12 10 6 Julia Landauer Sunrise Ford/Lucas Oil/Eibach Ford 148 32
13 17 13 Todd Souza Central Coast Cabinets Toyota 148 31
14 24 30 Stafford Smith Stoneys Rockin Country/Chatterbox Ford 148 30
15 20 38 Davey Hamilton * Always Evolving/Leavitt Machinery Ford 148 29
16 22 36 Jesse Iwuji Perfect Hydration/Lights Out Chevrolet 148 28
17 21 11 Takuma Koga IDT/Lanico/CKB JKR Chevrolet 148 27
18 23 32 Kody Vanderwal * Trident Processes/General Air Ford 148 26
19 15 21 Blaine Perkins Four Star Fruit Chevrolet 148 25
20 5 99 Chris Eggleston NAPA Filters Toyota 147 25 1
21 26 18 Bill Kann Kevin Grover GMC Chevrolet 147 23
22 25 14 Jerry DeWeert * BRAXX Motors Ford 129 22
23 4 4 Ronnie Bassett, Jr Bassett Gutters & More Toyota 110 21 Brakes
24 14 40 Ron Norman Port of Tucson Chevrolet 103 20
25 18 10 Matt Levin Port of Tucson Chevrolet 73 19 Electrical
26 13 90 Trevor Cristiani * Pepsi/Cristiani Motorsports Chevrolet 33 18 Engine
27 27 39 Jonas Fors * Consale/Visit Sweden Toyota 1 17 Vibration

RACE STATISTICS

Fastest Qualifier: Todd Gilliland, Time: 18.2 Seconds, Speed: 0.000 mph

Time of Race: 1 hrs., 5 mins, 16 secs Average Speed: 68.948 mph Margin of Victory: .549 Seconds

Caution Flags: Laps 20-22 (#14 Spin T4, No FP); 34-44 (#90 T2 FP); 76-79 (Half way break, FP 18); 87-90 (#11 T4 Spin, FP 32). 4 for 22 laps.

Lap Leaders: Todd Gilliland 1-2, Derek Kraus * 3-5, Dillon Bassett 6-23, Chris Eggleston 24-59, Dillon Bassett 60-105, Derek Kraus * 106-150.

Total Laps Led: Dillon Bassett 64, Derek Kraus * 48, Chris Eggleston 36, Todd Gilliland 2.  5 changes involving 4 drivers.

Top 10 Driver Points: Todd Gilliland 610, Chris Eggleston 581, Derek Kraus * 533, Michael Self 522, Will Rodgers * 520, Todd Souza 468, Julia Landauer 451, Nicole Behar 444, Kody Vanderwal * 440, Blaine Perkins 436

* Denotes Sunoco Rookie of the Year Contender

 

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