Zach Catanzareti, NASCARHomeTracks.com
March 23, 2017 - 7:45pm
Bakerfield, Calif. - 2017 just keeps getting better for Todd Gilliland.
After leading the lone practice session, Gilliland backed the result up with the pole position during group qualifying at Kern County Raceway Park.
With an 18.210-second lap, the reigning NASCAR K&N Pro Series West champion scorched the field by beating second-place Chris Eggleston by 0.215 seconds.
For the 16-year-old from Sherrills Ford, North Carolina, the 21 Means 21 Pole Award is his second straight at Kern County, his second straight of 2017 and his sixth in the last nine West Series races.
Eggleston, who won last week at Tucson Speedway, is the only driver eligible for the $100,000 prize if he can win at Kern County and the twin races at Irwindale Speedway on Saturday. He wont be far from the front, as he earned his third runner-up qualifying effort in the last four races.
Behind the familiar front row is Will Rodgers, who is hot off a career-high finish of fifth last week at Tucson Speedway, in third followed by Matt Levin and six-time series winner Michael Self the top five.
With Derek Kraus in sixth, Julia Landauer, Blaine Perkins, David Mayhew and Nicole Behar completed the top-10 starters.
Justin Funkhouser experienced the only significant issue of the session when the hood of his No. 5 Chevrolet came loose while entering the half-mile track. He was unable to complete a timed lap.