HAMPTON, Va. – Todd Gilliland passed Dillon Bassett with 39 laps to go and set sail Monday at Larry King Law’s Langley Speedway, cruising to his fourth NASCAR K&N Pro Series East win of the season in the Visit Hampton 150.
Gilliland surrendered the lead to Dillon Bassett early in the race and, when Bassett pulled out to a two second advantage, began to save his tires before mounting a late race charge.
With 39 laps to go, Gilliland made his move, taking the lead from Bassett and never looking back.
“I think we were all saving tires from second on back,” Gilliland said after the race. “Dad told me we were kind of in the line and when [Bassett] was trying to get away like that, we just had to be mentally tough and let him get out there. That’s always tough as a race car driver but, in a 150 lap race, you’ve got to know when to let them go.”
After taking the lead, Gilliland survived a challenge from eventual runner-up finisher Chase Purdy on a late race restart and pulled away from the rest of the field.
With his victory, Gilliland takes over the points lead in the K&N East standings with just two races remaining.
“This is a crucial part of the season overall,” Gilliland explained. “With there only being 14 races, all of them are very important. This one is huge for us, taking the lead. We had some bad luck to start the year off but, man, we’ve come on strong in these summer months. We’ve just got two more races to go get it.”
While Gilliland was pulling away, Dominique Van Wieringen mounted a late race surge after starting from 12th. The Canadian racer, who teamed up at the last minute with Rette-Jones Racing to run the race, made a series of three-wide passes on the outside lane in racing to a third place finish.
After the race, Van Wieringen was ecstatic about her effort.
“I learned, when I started racing late models, that you’ve got to make the outside work and I was dead set determined to be the one that makes the outside work,” Van Wieringen said. “I haven’t raced in over a year and I was worried, with our qualifying result, whether we would be able to make our way up to the top-three. This is an exhilarating moment.”
Ronnie Bassett, Jr. finished in fourth and Collin Cabre was fifth.
Harrison Burton, who entered Monday’s race with a four point advantage, surrendered the points lead after coming home seventh.
After the race, Burton said he was just looking ahead to the road course at New Jersey Motorsports Park.
“It was a tough race for us,” Burton remarked. “We didn’t have the handle on the car all week. We’ve just got to win the next two, now … that’s what we have to do. It’s something we’re really capable of. We’ve got to go to the road course and win and I know I’m capable of it. I believe in my team and we’re going to have a great car. Then we’ve got to go to Dover and take care of business there.”
Gilliland now assumes a six point margin over Burton heading to the 2.25-mile New Jersey Motorsports Park road course on Sept. 16.
Full race results can be viewed on the next page…