Gilliland Hopes To Continue Success In Opener

Todd Gilliland is on the hunt to pick up his third straight victory this weekend at California’s Irwindale Speedway.

The 15-year-old Sherrils Ford, N.C., native won his first two NASCAR K&N Pro Series starts – the K&N Ro Series West finale at Arizona’s Phoenix International Raceway last November and the K&N Pro Series East opener at Florida’s New Smyrna Speedway in February.

The last driver to win his first two K&N Pro races was 2015 Daytona 500 champion Joey Logano in 2007. Logano finished 13th in his third career race after victories at Phoenix and South Carolina’s Greenville Pickens Speedway.

The Gilliland family has had plenty of success at Irwindale. Todd’s father, David, won three times there in the former NASCAR Southwest Series and won the 2003 NASCAR Toyota All-Star Showdown non-points event for the K&N Pro Series. And Todd’s grandfather Butch finished third in the West’s inaugural event in 1999.  

Gilliland will have quite a few competitors trying to stop him from making it three in a row. His Bill McAnally Racing teammate and defending champion, Chris Eggleston, won his first 2015 victory at the at the half-mile paved oval after leading 102 laps. His other teammate and fellow NASCAR K&N Pro Series West rookie, Riley Herbst, who won the 2015 Irwindale Speed Trucks championship and finished fifth in Irwindale’s late model division last season.

He’ll also have plenty of competition from Jefferson Pitts Racing teammates Noah Gragson and Gracin Raz, who finished runner-up and fourth in last year’s K&N West final standings as well as Bruncati Racing’s Ryan Partridge, who finished third in the standings. Last year, all three were battling for the title down to the final laps at Phoenix.

Partridge also has an edge at Irwindale, he claimed the track’s Late Model division crown in 2013-14 as well as earned the NASCAR Whelen All-American Series California championship in 2014.