ROSEVILLE, Calif. — official team release — NASCAR via Getty Images photo —
Bill McAnally Racing has announced plans to expand its lineup for 2015, as it builds on its success in the East and West divisions of the NASCAR K&N Pro Series and celebrates a special anniversary.
BMR, which scored six wins and five poles last year, is looking to add to that mark in 2015 as the team commemorates the 25th year of its partnership with NAPA AUTO PARTS.
“This will be a very special year for everyone at BMR as we honor our 25th anniversary with NAPA AUTO PARTS,” said BMR President Bill McAnally. “NAPA has contributed so much and been such a big part of BMR’s success through the years. We want to reward NAPA and all our partners with our best year ever.”
As a five-time champion in the NASCAR K&N Pro Series West, BMR expanded last year into the NASCAR K&N Pro Series East – becoming the only team to race full time in both the East and West divisions.
“We’re looking forward to our second year of competing in the K&N West and K&N East,” McAnally said. “I’m confident the teams will build on their successes from 2014.”
BMR is expanding its program this year in the K&N West, meanwhile, to feature two full-time teams – with Brandon McReynolds back behind the wheel of the No. 16 NAPA AUTO PARTS Toyota for a second season and Chris Eggleston driving the No. 99 NAPA Filters/ H2O Fire Protection Toyota in his rookie season in the series. BMR’s focus in the K&N East will have Nick Drake back in the No. 15 NAPA AUTO PARTS Toyota. Cole Custer will return to run select events in the East and West divisions for BMR in 2015, driving the No. 00 NAPA AUTO PARTS/HAAS Automation entry.
In his first full season of competing in the K&N West last year, McReynolds won the Most Popular Driver Award and was named to the NASCAR Next program, which spotlights NASCAR’s rising stars. The 23-year-old from Mooresville, North Carolina, finished fourth in the championship standings. He garnered two poles and put together a string of nine consecutive top-five finishes. He is the son of television race analyst and former NASCAR Sprint Cup Series crew chief Larry McReynolds.
“We have some unfinished business with Brandon in the K&N West,” McAnally said. “We’re looking forward to capitalizing on his consistent performance last year.”
McReynolds offered a similar perspective on the season.
“I’m definitely excited after last year,” he said. “It was kind of an up and down year, although our finishes were always respectable. I think we established a good foundation to build on, as I go forward into my second year at BMR.
“Speed obviously wasn’t a problem all year in the NAPA Toyota,” McReynolds said. “It was just a matter of closing the deal. Looking forward to this year, I know we’re really going to push hard on being perfect with our preparation and try to excel and take advantage of our windows of opportunity on the race track.”
Drake, also of Mooresville, capped off his rookie season in the K&N East by winning the K&N West season finale at Phoenix International Raceway. The 19-year-old, who made the transition last year from racing open-wheel sprint cars on dirt to competing in stock cars, captured attention early by winning the pole in the K&N East race at Richmond (Virginia) International Raceway.
“We look for Nick’s big win at Phoenix last November to serve as a momentum builder as we head into the 2015 season,” McAnally said. “As a rookie, he displayed great potential throughout the year and we anticipate his success to continue.”
In addition to his win, Drake finished second overall in the NASCAR K&N Pro Series East-West combination race at Iowa Speedway last May.
“We obviously ended the way we wanted to last year with our NAPA Toyota,” Drake said of his win at Phoenix. “So we know we can win races. Hopefully, we can start right where we left off.”
“I think it should be a really good year for BMR,” he said. “Nothing’s new to me anymore. We’re going back to all the same tracks that we went to last year.”
Drake acknowledged that his finishes in 2014 did not always reflect his performance in some of the races.
“We ran way better than we finished in some events last year,” he said. “We had an opportunity to win a couple of races that slipped away from us. Some of it was out of our control. If we can get some luck on our side, hopefully we can run for this championship.”
Eggleston – making just his second series start, his first with BMR – grabbed the headlines last year by winning the K&N West race at his home track, Colorado National Speedway. The 25-year-old from nearby Erie is a graduate of Colorado State University.
“We’re very excited to have Chris coming on board full time for 2015,” McAnally said. “He captured a lot of attention with his win at Colorado last year and we expect to see his talent continue to develop as he becomes a regular in the series.”
Eggleston was one of four first-time winners in BMR’s No. 99 entry last season. Drake was also in the No. 99 when he won at Phoenix. In addition, Patrick Staropoli drove the No. 99 to his first win at Irwindale (California) Speedway and Christian PaHud scored a win in the No. 99 in his series debut at All American Speedway in Roseville, California. During the season, the BMR entry will carry a special logo to commemorate the team’s 25th anniversary with NAPA and its associates.
“I’m super excited and very thankful to be working with such a great team as Bill McAnally Racing,” said Eggleston. “I’m thankful that we were able to put something together with NAPA Filters, NAPA Batteries and NAPA AutoCare Centers.
“This is a dream come true,” he continued. “I thought it was a dream come true just to run that one race last year at Colorado in front of a hometown crowd and for us to come out of there with a victory. To put something together for the full season this year, gives us a momentum swing.
“I’m also excited to be able to work with Brandon,” Eggleston said. “I think he’s a great driver. I’m looking forward to working with him and learning from him. I think between the (car No.) 16 and (car No.) 99 that we can rack up a bunch of wins this year and hopefully be one-two in the championship at the end of the year.”
Custer, 17, of Ladera Ranch, California, had a record-setting season in 2014. Also a member of the NASCAR Next program, Custer won the K&N West season opener at Phoenix and followed that up with a K&N East win at Richmond in April. His racing resume includes nine events in the NASCAR Camping World Truck Series, where with a victory at New Hampshire in September he became the youngest winner in NASCAR national series history at the age of 16.
“After all of his success last year, we look for more great things to come from Cole in 2015,” McAnally said.
CREDIT: Bill McAnally Racing