Gilliland Aims To Step Up His Performance At Bristol

In his first visit to Bristol Motor Speedway a year ago, Todd Gilliland finished ninth in NASCAR K&N Pro Series East competition.

The 16-year-old from Sherrills Ford, North Carolina plans to step up that performance as the series returns to the high-banked, half-mile Tennessee track for the Zombie Auto 125 on Saturday.

“Bristol is one of the coolest tracks I’ve ever been to,” Gilliland said. “I can’t wait to get back there. I feel like we have a much better package going back.

“Last year’s finish is something we definitely want to work on,” said Gilliland, who drives the No. 16 NAPA AUTO PARTS Toyota Camry for Bill McAnally Racing. “I expect we’re going to be better this year.”

Gilliland, a member of the NASCAR Next program that spotlights NASCAR’s rising stars, is coming off a third-place finish at Greenville Pickens Speedway and is third in the championship standings of the K&N East.

He is in his first full season of competing in the K&N East, as he runs the complete schedules this year in the East and West divisions of the NASCAR K&N Pro Series. Last year’s Bristol race was one of five starts Gilliland made in the K&N East – while focusing primarily on the K&N West, where he had an outstanding season and won the championship as a rookie.

As the K&N West kicked off its 2017 season last month with four races in eight days, Gilliland had a dominant week – with three wins and a second-place finish.

Saturday’s Bristol race is the third event on a 14-race schedule this year for the K&N Pro Series East. Bristol Motor Speedway has hosted five series events, beginning in 2012. Series race winners include Nelson Piquet Jr.; Dylan Kwasniewski; Eddie MacDonald; Kyle Benjamin; and last year’s winner, Chad Finchum.

This race, which is scheduled to be televised on NBCSN on April 27 at 11 p.m. ET, is part of the big NASCAR weekend at Bristol Motor Speedway that also features the Monster Energy NASCAR Cup Series and the NASCAR XFINITY Series.