The battle for the NASCAR K&N Pro Series East championship has intensified as the season winds down.
Todd Gilliland, who drives Bill McAnally Racing’s No. 16 NAPA AUTO PARTS Toyota, has been on a hot streak in the past five races and closed to within four points of the lead in the championship standings – with three events remaining on this year’s 14-race schedule.
The series heads to Langley Speedway on Saturday for the Visit Hampton Virginia 150. The historic track re-opened earlier this year, paving the way for the return of the K&N East to the .396-mile speedway after a one-year absence.
Gilliland aims to close out the season by continuing his charge, in which he scored three wins and two runner-up finishes in the past five races.
“We’ve just got to stay focused,” he said. “Momentum has been going our way lately. We just need to keep it going.”
The weekend will be a busy one for Gilliland. In addition to racing at Langley, he’s also slated to compete in the NASCAR Camping World Truck Series race in Canada on Sunday. He plans to participate in a practice for the trucks on Friday, and then travel to Langley for the K&N East race on Saturday.
“I probably won’t get any practice that day,” he said of Saturday’s event. “We will need to focus on being as well prepared as possible when we get there and hit the ground running.”
That preparation included a recent test session at Langley, a track Gilliland was already familiar with. He competed in a late model race there several years ago. He was leading, when he had a flat tire.
“That was a heart breaker, but we’re looking for redemption this weekend,” he said.
Gilliland – who has three wins, eight top-five, and 11 top-10 finishes in 11 series starts this year – said he looks forward to returning to compete at Langley Speedway.
“It’s a really nice facility,” he said. “It was really exciting to see it open back up this year.”
The 17-year-old third-generation driver from Sherrills Ford, North Carolina is in his first full season of competing in the K&N East – while also defending his championship in the K&N West, where he leads the standings. Gilliland is a member of the NASCAR Next program that spotlights NASCAR’s rising stars.
The Langley race is scheduled to air on NBCSN on Sept. 7 at 7 p.m. ET.
Langley Speedway, which opened in 1950, hosted nine Monster Energy NASCAR Cup Series (then known as Grand National Division) races between 1964 and 1970 – when it was a dirt track. The track also was a regular stop for the NASCAR XFINITY Series, hosting 14 events – two each year from 1982 to 1988.
Five NASCAR K&N Pro Series East races were held at Langley Speedway from 2011 to 2015. Winners there included Corey LaJoie, Ben Rhodes, and William Byron.