K&N Pro West News & Notes: Kern
Gilliland, Eggleston Title Battle Down to the Checkered Flag
DAYTONA BEACH, Fla. — The NASCAR K&N Pro Series West concludes its 2017 season, and the battle for the championship, with the West Coast Stock Car Hall of Fame Championship 150 presented by NAPA Auto Parts on Saturday, November 4, at Kern County Raceway Park in Bakersfield, California.
Defending champion Todd Gilliland and his Bill McAnally Racing teammate Chris Eggleston have accounted for wins in 10 of the 13 races to date this season, with Gilliland holding an 11-point lead over Eggleston heading into the final race of the year. Gilliland can win his second consecutive championship by finishing seventh or better at Kern, regardless of where Eggleston finishes.
Eggleston, the 2015 K&N Pro Series West champion, has four wins this season and is the only driver to finish in the top 10 in all 13 races to date. Gilliland, meanwhile, has six wins and has finished on the podium an impressive 10 times this year.
The Race: The West Coast Stock Car Hall of Fame Championship 150 presented by NAPA Auto Parts will be the final race of the 2017 NASCAR K&N Pro Series West season.
The Procedure: The starting field is 26 cars, including provisionals. The first 22 cars will secure starting positions based on the group qualifying process. The remaining four spots will be awarded through the provisional process. The race will be 150 laps (75 miles) with a five-minute break occurring at or near the conclusion of lap 75.
The Track: Kern County Raceway Park sits on 120 acres and opened on May 18, 2013 with a NASCAR Whelen All-American Series event. 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 facility also hosts a dirt track and a Moto-X layout.
Race Winners: There have been four different winners in the six previous K&N Pro Series West races at Kern. Todd Gilliland and Greg Pursley are the only repeat winners at the track, with Pursley having won the first two races held there and Gilliland having won the two most recent events at the track, including one earlier this season.
Track Records: There have been four different pole winners in the five previous races at Kern, with Greg Pursley winning two of them. Pursley holds the track qualifying record of 100.514 mph, set in the inaugural event in 2013. In March, Gilliland set the 150-lap race record of 66.905 mph (1 hour, 9 minutes, 57 seconds).
WEST COAST STOCK CAR HALL OF FAME CHAMPIONSHIP 150 NOTES:
Two Times: Kern is the only track the K&N Pro Series West visits twice this season on different dates. Todd Gilliland won from the pole at the track in March, while his closest championship pursuer, Chris Eggleston, finished fourth after starting on the outside of the front row.
Their Bill McAnally Racing teammate Derek Kraus, who currently leads the Sunoco Rookie of the Year standings, finished second at Kern in March for his best career finish. A mark he equaled on two other occasions this summer (Washington’s Spokane County Raceway and Colorado National Speedway).
The only other track to host the series twice this season was California’s Irwindale Event Center, which ran Twin 100s in March.
Strong Finish: No driver enters the season finale with more momentum than Michael Self.
Self, of Park City, Utah, has won each of the last two events on the schedule. He won the NAPA Auto Parts Idaho 208 for his first series win since 2013, following that effort with a dominating win from the pole in the NAPA Auto Parts 150 at California’s All American Speedway.
After missing the season opener, Self has vaulted himself into the top five in the overall standings with his recent performances. Along with his two victories, he has six top fives and has finished in the top 10 in all 12 of his starts this season.
Eastern Invaders: NASCAR K&N Pro Series East drivers Ronnie Bassett Jr. and Dillon Bassett are both entered in the West Coast Stock Car Hall of Fame Championship 150.
Ronnie Bassett finished third in the K&N Pro Series East standings, with one win, eight top fives and 11 top 10s in 14 races. Statistically, it was the Winston-Salem, North Carolina, driver’s best season in the series. He has one career K&N Pro Series West start, finishing 10th at Arizona’s Phoenix International Raceway in 2015.
Dillon Bassett finished eighth in the final K&N Pro Series East standings for his first series career points finish inside the top 10. He posted two top fives and seven top 10s in 14 races.
Standings Battle: The battle for the NASCAR K&N Pro Series West championship isn’t the only one taking place in the standings at Kern.
The third- through fifth-place drivers are separated by only four points, with Derek Kraus (486), Will Rodgers (484) and Self (482) all within sight of finishing in third.
Kraus has a six-point lead over Rodgers in the Sunoco Rookie of the Year standings as both rookies try to finish 2017 with their first career K&N Pro Series West victory.