The NASCAR K&N Pro Series East makes its return to Virginia’s South Boston Speedway this week after a six-year absence.
Most of the young drivers in the series will be getting their first look at the historic .4-mile track as the series stages a doubleheader, with twin 100s on Saturday.
There could be an advantage, however, in this being a first visit to the track, according to 16-year-old Todd Gilliland, who wheels the No. 16 NAPA AUTO PARTS Toyota Camry for Bill McAnally Racing.
“I’ve never been to South Boston,” he said. “They recently repaved the track. It’s going to be a lot faster than it was. It might be a good thing that I’ve never been there. So I have nothing to judge off of from previous races. It will be interesting to see who goes and tests there and who unloads fast there.”
The doubleheader, with back-to-back championship races, meanwhile, could play a pivotal role in the title chase, Gilliland speculated.
“I think it will be a turning point, with twin 100 races,” he said.
Gilliland knows what it takes to be successful in running twin 100-lap races. He swept a K&N West doubleheader in Southern California at Irwindale Speedway in March – winning both twin NAPA 100s.
The Sherrills Ford, North Carolina driver is running the full schedules in the East and West divisions of the NASCAR K&N Pro Series this year. Last season he made five starts in the K&N East, while primarily focusing on winning the championship as a rookie in the K&N West.
Gilliland, a member of the NASCAR Next program that spotlights NASCAR’s rising stars, is third in the championship standings of the K&N East and is coming off an eighth-place finish at Bristol.
Saturday’s doubleheader, the WhosYourDriver.org Twin 100s, mark the fourth and fifth events on a 14-race schedule for the K&N East. The twin races are scheduled to be televised on NBCSN on May 11 at 7 and 8 p.m. ET.
South Boston Speedway, which hosted five K&N East races each year from 2007 to 2001, is celebrating its 60th anniversary this year. The track staged NASCAR Cup Series races from 1960 to 1971 and NASCAR XFINITY Series events from 1982 to 2000.