When Todd Gilliland announced he was going to run for both the East and West championship on the NASCAR K&N Pro Series this season, he knew it wasn't going to be easy. Saturday, Gilliland helped himself close the gap towards that goal.
The Sherrills Ford, North Carolina, driver captured his second victory of the season in the K&N Pro East with a dominating performance in the United Site Services 70 at New Hampshire Motor Speedway. The win helped him chip away on the points lead of championship front-runner Harrison Burton.
It was the third career victory on the East for Gilliland and his first at the 1.058-mile national-series oval.
"My NAPA Auto Parts Camry was hooked up tonight," said Gilliland, who has 14 wins in 37 K&N Pro Series starts between the East and West. "The VHT has a lot of grip and when I was around other cars, I really turned the middle good. It sounds easy, but it was tough through practice. We weren't as good when we unloaded. It was kind of an unknown waking up this morning knowing two other series were going to run out here."
Gilliland's No. 16 NAPA Auto Parts Toyota started from the outside pole position, but he was quick to take the lead from Chase Purdy on the restart on lap eight. From there, the NASCAR Next driver pulled away and never was challenged for the remainder of the race. He led a total of 63 laps, and put all but the top six a lap down.
Purdy, who captured his fourth straight 21 Means 21 Pole Award on Friday evening, finished second in the race. It was the third runner-up finish of the season for him. Purdy, who is also part of the NASCAR Next program, is teammates with Gilliland at David Gilliland Racing and leads the Sunoco Rookie of the Year standings. It is the second 1-2 finish for DGR, which also accomplished the feat at Michigan's Berlin Raceway.
Ronnie Bassett Jr. finished third, while Burton slid by Sheldon Creed in the final laps and finished fourth. Tyler Dippel was sixth, followed by Ruben Garcia Jr., Dillon Bassett, Trey Hutchens and Brandon Oakley.
Burton leads Gilliland by 14 points after nine of 14 races, while Purdy is 52 points back. Bassett Jr. and Garica round out the top five.
The United Site Services 70 will air on NBCSN on Thursday, July 20 at 6 p.m.
The NASCAR K&N Pro Series East returns to the track at Iowa Speedway on July 28, where Gilliland is the defending race winner.