The NASCAR K&N Pro Series West kicks off its season with the Toyota / NAPA AUTO PARTS 150 at Irwindale (California) Speedway on Saturday. It will mark a key event in the career of the four Bill McAnally Racing drivers who are racing the full series schedule this season.
This year’s BMR lineup features Chris Eggleston in the No. 50 NAPA Filters / H2O Fire Protection Toyota Camry, Todd Gilliland in the No. 16 NAPA AUTO PARTS Toyota Camry, Riley Herbst in the No. 19 NOS Energy Drink Toyota Camry, and Julia Landauer in the No. 54 Toyota Camry.
Eggleston scored the win in last year’s series race at Irwindale Speedway, in his first visit to the track. It helped fuel the Erie, Colorado driver to the 2015 series championship during his first full season of series competition. He returns to the Southern California facility with a focus on continued success as he begins the defense of his title.
Gilliland is two-for-two in NASCAR K&N Pro Series competition – having won the K&N West season finale last November and the K&N East season opener last month. The 15-year-old third-generation driver from Sherrills Ford, North Carolina is embarking on his rookie season. He will begin by competing at a track where his grandfather, 1997 series champion Butch Gilliland, still holds the track record and where his father, NASCAR Sprint Cup Series veteran David Gilliland, won a NASCAR Toyota All-Star Showdown event.
Although Herbst hails from Las Vegas, he considers Irwindale Speedway as his home track. He did double duty as a rookie in two divisions at the Southern California venue last year – winning the championship in the Irwindale Speed Trucks, and finishing fifth in the final standings of the NASCAR Whelen All-American Series late models at Irwindale. The 17-year-old, who is also a K&N West rookie this year, scored a top-10 finish in his first NASCAR K&N Pro Series race by finishing ninth in the K&N East season opener last month.
For Landauer, the Irwindale event marks another trip to the Golden State – where she graduated from Stanford University in 2014. Her time on the West Coast was sandwiched between growing up in New York City and her current residence in Charlotte, North Carolina. Landauer, 24, is set to make her series debut as she begins her chase for the rookie title. She won a NASCAR Whelen All-American Series championship last year in the Limited Late Model division at Motor Mile Speedway in Radford, Virginia.
Irwindale Speedway has been a popular track for BMR, with the team accumulating 11 wins there overall since the state-of-the-art facility opened in 1999. BMR won eight of 11 series races at Irwindale between 2001 and 2007, as well as going to Victory Lane there the past two years. In addition, the team won the inaugural NASCAR Toyota All-Star Showdown at the speedway in 2003.
Many past series winners at Irwindale Speedway are slated to attend Saturday’s event – including Brendan Gaughan, David Gilliland, and Austin Cameron. In addition, NASCAR Sprint Cup Series rookie Chase Elliott is to make a special guest appearance with NAPA AUTO PARTS.
BMR will also provide special rides at the speedway for VIPs in the two-seater NAPA Toyota on Friday evening. The NAPA Hospitality event on Saturday is always a popular feature of the weekend.
Eggleston and Landauer will make a special visit to a local grade school on Friday morning. They will speak to students at Emperor Elementary School.
The Toyota / NAPA AUTO PARTS 150, the 24th series race at Irwindale, will be televised on NBCSN on March 25 at 9 p.m. ET.