KNPSW: Gilliland Nips Gragson By Inches; Wins K&N West Stop at Stateline Speedway

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Todd Gilliland and his team celebrate their third NASCAR K&N Pro Series West win of the season Saturday night at Stateline Speedway in Post Falls, Idaho. (William Mancebo/NASCAR via Getty Images photo)

Todd Gilliland and his team celebrate their third NASCAR K&N Pro Series West win of the season Saturday night at Stateline Speedway in Post Falls, Idaho.
(William Mancebo/NASCAR via Getty Images photo)

POST FALLS, Idaho — Todd Gilliland and Noah Gragson, two of NASCAR’s rising young stars, came across the finish line leaning on one another as sparks flew and sheet metal crunched Saturday night at Stateline Speedway.

In the end, it was 16-year-old Gilliland who took the checkered flag in the Toyota NAPA 150 and celebrated in victory lane on the quarter-mile, edging his fellow NASCAR Next classmate by inches in one of the closest finishes in series history.

Gilliland crossed the finish line .004 seconds in front of the 17-year-old from Las Vegas.

It was the only lap Gilliland’s No. 16 NAPA Auto Parts Toyota led all night, but it was enough to give the third-generation driver from Sherrils Ford, N.C. his third West win and fourth K&N Pro win overall in his rookie season.

Multiple cautions pushed the race to a second green-white-checkered finish and to 166 laps.

Gragson led the final restart and was a nose ahead at the line taking the white flag, but Gilliland got a strong run off turn four coming to the checkered and powered forward despite having his car pinched against the outside wall by Gragson’s No. 7 Speed Vegas/Alert ID/Colliers International Ford as they crossed under the flag stand.

The Toyota NAPA 150 is the second NASCAR K&N Pro Series race to be decided by less than .01 seconds this season. Spencer Davis edged Justin Haley by .005 seconds in the NASCAR K&N Pro Series East race at Virginia’s Dominion Speedway in May. Gragson was third in that event.

Chris Eggleston came up third in a bittersweet finish. Earlier in the day, the defending series champion earned his first career Coors Light Pole Award, and he led a race-high 73 laps on the night before being collected in a spin by Gilliland on lap 92.

The two Bill McAnally Racing teammates quickly sliced back through the field, but it was Gilliland who got to the front first and Eggleston had to settle for a podium finish.

Gragson’s teammate Gracin Raz overcame a black flag — for jumping the restart while leading on lap 91 — to finish fourth, and Julia Landauer rounded out the top five.

Cole Rouse was sixth, followed by Riley Herbst, Will Rodgers, Matt Levin and championship points leader Ryan Partridge.

Partridge saw his chance for the win disappear on the first green-white-checkered attempt, when he spun in Turn 4 coming to the white flag. Partridge got hung on the outside when Gilliland made it three-wide under he and Gragson on the initial restart.

Partridge’s lead now shrinks to just three markers over Gilliland at the halfway point of the season, with Eggleston 13 behind and Gragson 17 off the lead.

The NASCAR K&N Pro Series West will next race in the annual combination showdown with the NASCAR K&N Pro Series East at Iowa Speedway on July 28.

 

RESULTS: NASCAR K&N Pro Series West; Toyota/NAPA Auto Parts 150; Stateline Speedway; July 9, 2016

  1. Todd Gilliland
  2. Noah Gragson
  3. Chris Eggleston
  4. Gracin Raz
  5. Julia Landauer
  6. Cole Rouse
  7. Riley Herbst
  8. Will Rodgers
  9. Matt Levin
  10. Ryan Partridge
  11. Blaine Perkins
  12. John Wood
  13. Stafford Smith
  14. Cole Moore
  15. Ron Norman
  16. Braeden Havens
  17. Salvatore Iovino
  18. Jesse Iwuji
  19. Rich DeLong III

CREDIT: NASCAR Integrated Marketing Communications

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