Todd Gilliland Wins K&N West Debut as Chris Eggleston Takes Titleby Kyle Pokrefky November 13, 2015 0 comments
The 2015 NASCAR K&N Pro Series West season drew to a close with the Casino Arizona 100 at Phoenix International Raceway on Thursday night with Chris Eggleston sealing up the title.
Eggleston, 26, made the most of his first full campaign in the series with Bill McAnally Racing – an opportunity that started with a debut win with the team at Colorado National Speedway in 2014 – by scoring two wins, nine top-fives and 10 top-10s in the 13-race season.
Closing out the season, Eggleston finished seven points ahead of second-place Noah Gragson in the standings and 13 points ahead of third-place Ryan Partridge.
Eggleston officially sealed up the title with an 11th-place finish in the 101-lap race. However, engine adversity early in the day nearly sent his championship ambitions up in smoke.
“Hats off to all of the guys at Bill McAnally Racing, they gave me an awesome NAPA Filters Toyota,” Eggleston said. “We definitely went through adversity and we had to earn this one after blowing a motor early in practice and the guys did a phenomenal job getting us back out there.
“I think they broke a record in my book for sure with replacing a motor in 40-something minutes and getting us back out there in that practice session…”
“I’m thankful that we were able to hold on and were able to seal the deal,” Eggleston continued. “I have to thank this guy, Bill, for giving me this chance and opportunity to be here.
“A one-off deal last year put us in this position and I appreciate him giving me this chance and it definitely paid off to deliver him his – I don’t know how many championships this man owns – but, it’s well deserved and I’m so happy to be here at Phoenix International Raceway.”
As Eggleston celebrated the championship, 15-year-old Todd Gilliland took the race win for Bill McAnally Racing in what was his series debut.
It wasn’t easy for the third-generation driver (grandson of Butch and son of David) as he prevailed in a duel with NASCAR K&N Pro Series East champion William Byron to take the lead with two to go and hold on to the checkered flag.
Gilliland, also a winner in his ARCA Racing Series debut in May, was put in a position to win the race after J.J. Haley, the dominant driver of the race, fell out of contention on Lap 95 after blowing a tire in Turn 3.
“It was a crazy race,” Gilliland stated. “We qualified eighth and in the first half I made a bunch of passes and figured out the race track a little bit more. In the second half, I kind of rode second most of the race and then when the No. 05 [J.J. Haley] blew the right front, we were in a position to take over the lead and we held on to it for those last three laps.”
Scored behind Gilliland in the top-10 were Byron, Brandon McReynolds, Dalton Sargeant, Landon Cassill, Harrison Burton, Travis Miller, James Bickford, D.J. Kennington and Ronnie Bassett Jr.
Top-10 Finishers of the Casino Arizona 100
- 54 – Todd Gilliland – Toyota – Bill McAnally Racing
- 91 – William Byron – Chevrolet – HScott Motorsports with Justin Marks
- 16 – Brandon McReynolds – Toyota – Bill McAnally Racing
- 52 – Dalton Sargeant – Chevrolet – HScott Motorsports with Justin Marks
- 41 – Landon Cassill – Chevrolet – Doug Fuller
- 12 – Harrison Burton – Toyota – Jeff Burton
- 40 – Travis Miller – Chevrolet – Hillman Racing
- 6 – James Bickford – Ford – Bob Bruncati Racing
- 81 – D.J. Kennington – Ford – Dwight Kennedy
- 4 – Ronnie Bassett Jr. – Ford – Ronnie Bassett
Photo Credit: Getty Images via NASCAR