• Inaugural Series Race At Michigan Short Track
MARNE, Mich. (July 1, 2017) – Todd Gilliland captured his first NASCAR K&N Pro Series East win of the season with a victory in the Stars & Stripes 150 at Berlin Raceway on Saturday.
It marked the second series win in 12 career starts for the Sherrills Ford, North Carolina 17-year-old – who drives the No. 16 NAPA AUTO PARTS Toyota Camry for Bill McAnally Racing.
Gilliland, who started third on the grid, dropped to sixth in the first portion of the event – as he and other early front runners appeared content to fall back and conserve. He worked his way up to third just before the midway break at Lap 77. His steady progression continued in the second half of the race. He charged out front on Lap 120 and stretched out more than a 4-second lead in the final stages of the event.
After encountering flat tires and other such issues while running out front in previous races this season, Gilliland and his BMR crew were relieved to reach the checkered flag without any trouble on Saturday.
“This is probably the most excited I’ve ever been to win a race,” said Gilliland, a member of the NASCAR Next program that spotlights NASCAR’s rising stars. “It’s so special after everything we’ve gone through.”
The victory capped off a solid weekend for the NAPA team.
“The weekend went really smooth,” he said. “We weren’t the best car in the first practice. From there, we made really good adjustments to the NAPA Toyota.”
Despite missing his marks in time trials and qualifying third, Gilliland said he was confident he had a car to win the race. He and other early front runners opted to drop back early.
“We just tried to stay in a distance so we could get back up there in a short amount of time,” he said. “It worked this time. These races, when you conserve your tires, you never know what the right strategy will be. Everything worked out great.”
Gilliland, second in the championship standings, closed to within 19 points of first place; as the series is at the halfway point of the season, with seven of 14 races complete. He has one win, four top-five, and seven top-10 finishes.
For Saturday’s Stars & Stripes 150, the BMR team proudly donned special shirts in support of the NAPA AUTO PARTS “Get Back and Give Back” Intrepid Fallen Heroes Fund program.
The race, which marked the inaugural series visit to the 7/16-mile Michigan track, is scheduled to be televised on NBCSN on July 7 at 12:30 p.m. ET.
The next race on the K&N Pro Series East schedule will be a special throwback event at Connecticut’s Thompson Speedway Motorsports Park on Saturday, July 8.