Chris Eggleston knows his way around Colorado National Speedway. The local driver put that experience to good use on Saturday night in winning the NAPA AUTO PARTS/Toyota 150 in just his second appearance in the NASCAR K&N Pro Series West.
The 25-year-old from nearby Erie wheeled his Bill McAnally Racing No. 99 NAPA Filters/H2O Fire Protection Toyota out front early and then chose the outside line on restarts to successfully fend off challenges for the lead.
“All the NAPA AUTO PARTS guys and NAPA Filters guys worked so hard,” said Eggleston. “The whole Bill McAnally Racing team gave me a great car for tonight’s 150. It was just stellar. We struggled a little bit in practice on the short runs, but this car was phenomenal on the long runs.”
Eggleston, who has competed in Super Late Models and won the Legends division title at the 3/8-mile Colorado track just north of Denver, credited his experience there in choosing to take the outside lane on restarts.
“That’s probably where the hometown advantage came into play,” he said. “I usually know how this track races as it progresses. I knew when he gave me the outside, we could roll the top pretty good and conserve our tires pretty good,” he said. “We were better on the bottom in (turns) 3 and 4. I moved around a little bit to try to find the right speed. It ended up being the bottom in 3 and 4 and the top in (turns) 1 and 2 seemed to be the best tire conservation lane and the fastest, as well.”
Eggleston admitted, meanwhile, that he became concerned as the laps wound down.
“I got a little nervous there at the end,” he said. “We started abusing that right rear (tire) pretty hard, but we had just enough to beat the Sunrise Ford team. I’m so excited. The NAPA Filters guys got to be out here in hospitality and got to witness the win. It’s great to get a win for those guys, as well as my hometown crowd.”
After waiting out a rain delay of nearly 50 minutes for the start of the race, Eggleston charged from third on the grid to take second on Lap 35 and grabbed the lead six circuits later. He stretched his lead to more than two seconds by the midway point of the event, but saw that margin erased by the first of three cautions in the second half of the race. On each restart, however, Eggleston took the outside line and was able to reclaim the top spot.
The final restart came within 10 laps of the finish, with Eggleston charging back out front and winning by a margin of .434 seconds. In doing so, he delivered BMR with its fourth win at CNS and became the 10th different winner in 12 series races there.
Eggleston finished 11th in his only previous NASCAR K&N Pro Series West race, at CNS in 2011.
While Eggleston wrapped up his first career series win, his BMR teammate Brandon McReynolds finished fifth in the No. 16 NAPA AUTO PARTS Toyota at CNS – marking his sixth top-five finish in eight series starts this season.
The 23-year-old from Mooresville, North Carolina started the race on the outside of the front row after turning in the second quickest time during qualifying earlier in the day. He was able to take the lead 22 laps into the event, but fell back five circuits later. He slipped as far back as sixth, before battling his way back to the top five.
McReynolds, a member of the NASCAR Next program that spotlights NASCAR’s rising starts, remains third in the championship standings in his first full season of competing in the series. In addition to his six top-five finishes, he has one pole and seven top-10 finishes.