Gilliland The Driver To Beat At Kern County Raceway Park
By Brooke Franceschini, NASCAR
March 29, 2016 - 2:41pm
DAYTONA BEACH, Fla. – Twenty-four drivers will try to put an end to Todd Gilliland’s current three race win streak in the NAPA Auto Parts 150 on Saturday at California’s Kern County Raceway Park.
The Sherrills Ford, North Carolina, driver kicked things off with his first visit to Victory Lane in his NASCAR K&N Pro Series West debut at Arizona’s Phoenix International Raceway in last November's finale. He kept the streak going in his NASCAR K&N Pro Series East debut, collecting the win in the 2016 season opener at Florida’s New Smyrna Speedway.
Gilliland then collected his most recent victory in his third start in the West opener at California’s Irwindale Speedway. He piloted the No. 16 NAPA Auto Parts 150 to Victory Lane after leading a total of 33 laps.
Chris Eggleston, Noah Gragson, David Mayhew, Ryan Partridge and Gracin Raz – on the other hand – are eager to make their first trip to Victory Lane this season.
Eggleston, the defending K&N West champion, looks to build upon his solid third place showing at the season opener. The 26-year-old from Erie, Colorado, native looks to improve off of his fifth place finish at Kern last season.
Gragson and Mayhew head into Kern as the highest finishing returning competitors. The 17-year-old Gragson from Las Vegas, Nevada, finished third in his series debut at Kern last season. He had a solid start to the 2016 season with a fourth-place finish at Irwindale. Mayhew led a race-high 85 laps last year at Kern before he was overtaken by Dalton Sargeant and finished second.
Partridge, who finished 13th at the half-mile oval in 2015, will look to capitalize off strong his runner-up finish at Irwindale to open the current season.
Raz will try to bounce back from his rough start in the opener. The 18-year-old from Lake Oswego, Oregon, finished 14th after leading 82 laps. He has a good history at Kern with a sixth place finish in his series debut at the track last season.
RACE:NAPA Auto Parts 150
PLACE:California’s Kern County Raceway Park
DATE:Saturday, April 2
TIME:9 p.m. PST
TV SCHEDULE:NBCSN, April 8 at 11 p.m. ET
TRACK LAYOUT:Half-mile oval
2015 WINNER:Dalton Sargeant
2015 POLE SITTER:Dalton Sargeant
EVENT SCHEDULE:Garage opens: 9 a.m.; Practice: 12-12:45 p.m.; Final Practice: 1:15-2 p.m.; Driver/Crew Chief Meeting: 4 p.m.; Qualifying: 4:45 p.m.; Driver Autograph Session: 6:30 p.m.; Driver Introductions: 8:45 p.m.; NAPA Auto Parts 150: 9 p.m.
TRACK CONTACT:Steve Hughes, (661) 835-1264 ext. 3204 or email@example.com
EVENT TWITTER HASHTAG:#NAPAAutoParts150
NASCAR IMC CONTACT:Brooke Franceschini, (386) 631-6142 or firstname.lastname@example.org, @BrookeFran04
The Race: The NAPA Auto Parts 150 is the second race of the 2016 NASCAR K&N Pro Series West season. It is the second of 11 oval track events and 14 races overall on the schedule. This is the series’ fifth visit to Kern County Raceway Park in Bakersfield, California.
The Procedure: The starting field is 26 cars, including provisionals. The first 22 cars will qualify through two-lap time trials while the remaining four spots will be awarded through the provisional process. The race is scheduled for 150 laps covering 75 miles.
The Track: Kern County Raceway Park sits on 120 acres and opened on May 18, 2013 with a NASCAR Whelen All-American Series event. The facility has seating for 5,000 spectators and is expandable to more than 15,000. It’s a half-mile oval with progressive banking of 12 to 14 degrees in turns and eight degrees on the front and backstretches.
The Records: The one-lap qualifying record was set by Gray Gaulding on October 26, 2013 at 17.908 seconds, 100.514 mph. The 150 lap race record was established by Greg Pursley at 1 hour, 10 minutes 46 seconds, 63.589 on October 26, 2013.
NAPA AUTO PARTS 150 NOTES:
Mayhew to Make Season Debut: NASCAR K&N Pro Series West veteran David Mayhew is set to make his season debut in the NAPA Auto Parts 150 on Saturday. This will be the 34-year-old Atascadero, California, driver’s 100th K&N West start, should he qualify. In his four starts at Kern, he has collected three top fives and four top 10s.
Ford Domination at Kern: Fords have proven themselves to be the cars to beat at Kern. All four victors – Greg Pursley, Dylan Lupton and Dalton Sargeant – have piloted their Ford to Victory Lane. With nine Fords scheduled to compete on Saturday, there’s a good chance the trend can continue.
Qualifying is Key: Since the inaugural NASCAR K&N Pro Series West race at Kern in 2013, two of the four winners have started at the top. Greg Pursley, who won twice in 2013 and 2014, started third and on the pole, respectively. Last year’s winner, Dalton Sargeant, collected his first series victory after earning the pole earlier in the day. Dylan Lupton is the only winner to come from behind when he won from the ninth starting position in 2014.
New Winner to Be Crowned: Keeping with the trend of the 2016 K&N Pro Series seasons, a new winner will be crowned at Kern this weekend. None of the 25 competitors entered in Saturday’s race have won at Kern before. Sixteen of the 25 drivers will be on the hunt for their first series trip to the winner’s circle.
Kern County Experience: Only eleven drivers - Johnny Borneman, Rich DeLong, Chris Eggleston, Noah Gragson, Matt Levin, David Mayhew, Ron Norman, Ryan Partridge, Gracin Raz, Jack Sellers and John Wood - have prior series experience at the half-mile oval.
HOME TRACKS: It’s Opening Night at Kern
Several NASCAR Whelen All-American divisions open their 2016 seasons Saturday night at Kern County Raceway Park. The track’s Super Stocks, Legends and 911 Racing Series will compete prior to the NASCAR K&N Pro Series West NAPA Auto Parts 150. Kern’s Division I Late Models will begin their season on April 16.