How the West Was Won: Todd Gilliland Dominates at Iowa Speedway
U.S. Cellular 250 qualifying set for 3:15 p.m. on Saturday
NEWTON, Iowa (July 29, 2016) – Todd Gilliland left no doubts by the time the checkered flag in the NASCAR K&N Pro Series Casey’s General Stores 150 presented by Vatterott waved. He won handily in his Iowa Speedway debut, taking home a race win for the fourth time in the 2016 season.
Gilliland also helped himself in the NASCAR K&N West points standings, leapfrogging Ryan Partridge for first place.
“Me and the 40 [Kyle Benjamin] had pretty good battles there,” Gilliland said. “It was great racing with him and everyone there. We got away a little bit, before halfway, but we knew we still needed to make adjustments. We make good ones and I think it showed at the end.”
When the race began, Kyle Benjamin and Gilliland traded the lead back and forth before the first caution came.
Benjamin, driver of the Ranier Racing No. 40 Chevrolet, won the Sukup “First in the Field” award and in turn started first in the field of 33. He finished second overall. Austin Theriault came home third.
Gilliland is a member of the 11-driver 2016 NASCAR Next class. NASCAR Next is an overarching industry initiative to help spotlight NASCAR’s rising stars – and bolster fan recognition around talent that will grow into NASCAR mainstays.
The program, which mentors and trains the future stars of NASCAR, was in full effect on Friday night at “The Fastest Short Track on the Planet.” Collin Cabre finished fourth. Benjamin is a graduate of the program. Iowa Speedway has long proved itself as the spot where “Stars are Made.” Former NASCAR Next members who have made an impact in NASCAR’s national series include Ryan Blaney, William Byron, Kyle Larson and Darrell Wallace Jr.
Iowa Speedway has been a super star factory since it began hosting prominent national motorsports events in 2007. Winning here has catapulted some of NASCAR’s young stars into household names and standouts in the sport.
With the second place finish, Benjamin was the highest finishing driver from NASCAR’s K&N Pro Series East Division.
“We had a pretty good car to start with,” Benjamin said. “The No. 16 was pretty strong to start with. I was really surprised at the run he was able to get off the corner, compared to us running the top.”
But after the second caution of the night, Gilliland began to take control of the race. He built up a large lead over Benjamin, who was running in second. Gilliland began to pull away by the time the field reset after the competition caution Lap 75.
Next up for Iowa Speedway is the NASCAR XFINITY Series NASCAR XFINITY Series U.S. Cellular 250 Saturday at 7:00 p.m. CT.