Zach Catanzareti, NASCARHomeTracks.com
March 23, 2017 - 6:39pm
Bakersfield, Calif. - It may be early, but the 2017 NASCAR K&N Pro Series West season has been strong for Todd Gilliland.
Less than a week after winning the pole and finishing second at the season-opener at Tucson (Ariz.) Speedway, the reigning West champion and track winner led the way in the lone practice session at California's Kern County Raceway Park on Thursday.
The No. 16 NAPA Auto Parts Toyota sped around the half-mile in 18.508 seconds [97.255 mph], beating second-place Matt Levin by only 0.018 seconds.
Michael Self, who is making his first K&N Pro Series West Series start since 2013, finished third quickest in the No. 9 Sunrise Ford/Eibach Springs/Lucas Oil Ford followed by Derek Kraus and Tucson winner Chris Eggleston.
Ten-time series winner David Mayhew was sixth quick with Will Rodgers, Garrett Archer, Julia Landauer and Johnny Borneman III completing the top 10.
The top-nine drivers were within a quarter-second of leader Gilliland, proving tight competition heading into group qualifying.
Brandon Schilling ran the most laps of the session , finishing 16th quick of 21 cars.
Bill Kahn was the only driver of 22 entered to not turn a time in the 90-minute session.