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The 2018 NASCAR Whelen Euro Series calendar was unveiled today and features 12 rounds in six American-themed NASCAR GP on the best European tracks cementing Euro NASCAR’s position among the best touring car series outside North America.

Built in continuity with a very successful 2017 season, which saw more than 60 top level drivers representing 21 countries on the grid to battle door to door for the NWES crown and delight hundreds of thousands of fans with the best racing in Europe, the 2018 Euro NASCAR schedule will include 6 different countries: Spain, Italy, Great Britain, France, Germany and Benelux.

A key change is the creation of a new international event that will take place in Tours, France where drivers from all over the world will compete to measure their skills against American guest-stars in the Oval World Challenge. The second major evolution is a new venue for the Semi Finals that will be hosted by the legendary Hockenheimring in Germany, building on the success of the first American Fan Fest.

“We are really proud to offer to European fans, teams, drivers and partners this very well-balanced calendar, a great mix between some of the most iconic names in Motorsports – Hockenheim, Brands Hatch, Valencia and Zolder – and emerging high-action short tracks such as Tours and Franciacorta. We all share a common vision to make every NASCAR GP a unique fan experience and provide great family fun on and around the track. In few years, the NWES events have emerged as some of the best and most attractive in Europe. Pure racing and great fun are in our DNA and we will keep pushing this way!” said NWES President / CEO Jerome Galpin.

Spain and the Circuit de la Comunitat Valenciana Ricardo Tormo will once again open the season on April 14-15 with the fourth edition of the Valencia NASCAR Fest, an event that has quickly become a classic in the NWES calendar.

On May 19-20 the Euro NASCAR will head to Brescia for the second event of the season at the Autodromo di Franciacorta. The Italian track’s compact layout provides the fans with a spectacular view and action-packed races.

A new King Of Brands Hatch will be crowned at the historic Indy Circuit in the context of the hugely popular American SpeedFest on June 9-10. One of the most coveted events in the calendar, the British festival is the longest running NWES event and will reach the sixth edition in 2018.

On June 30 and July 1 the city of Tours in France will host the new Oval World Challenge. The sole NASCAR oval race outside of North America will bring tons of excitement to the European fans. A unique prize and a special format for the event will be presented in the upcoming weeks.

For the first time in the Series history, Germany will host the Semi Finals on September 15-16 at Hockenheimring and represent a turning point in the season for the drivers chasing the European NASCAR title by awarding double points.

On October 20-21 the NWES season will once again reach its culmination in Belgium at Circuit Zolder, with the challenging 4 Km track hosting the NASCAR Whelen Euro Series Finals for the fourth consecutive year in front a huge crowd.

Well spread on the map, the 2018 NWES calendar will offer every race fan an opportunity to enjoy the unrivalled atmosphere of a NASCAR GP and grant drivers a variety of racing experiences: from the high speeds of Hockenheim or Zolder to the bumper-to-bumper action of Brands Hatch and  Oval Tours. Only the best of the best will be the 2018 Euro NASCAR champion. Save the dates race fans!

QUOTES FROM THE TRACKS

Gonzalo Gobert - General Manager, Circuit Ricardo Tormo
"We are excited to open again the season of a competition that in just four editions consolidated in our calendar as one of the most original and attractive offers for the fans, for its competitive aspect as well as the peculiarity of the cars. The Valencia Nascar Fest has become the most important car racing event of our sports calendar, it is a privilege for us to be the Spanish event of this championship and to share a calendar with iconic motorsport circuits”

Ettore Bonara - Owner, Autodromo di Franciacorta
“We are really happy to welcome the NASCAR Whelen Euro Series in 2018 and we believe that the May date will be the perfect one for us in the schedule. We have learned a lot in 2017 and we definitely want to offer a bigger and better show to the Italian fans”

David Willey - Motorsport Events Manager, Brands Hatch
“We’re delighted to welcome back the NASCAR Whelen Euro Series as the centrepiece of our sixth American SpeedFest event at Brands Hatch, which is one of the highlights of our summer calendar. NASCAR epitomises US motorsport and we aim to make next year’s festival the biggest and best celebration yet of everything under the Star-Spangled Banner.”

Jorn Teske - Head of Marketing, Hockenheimring
“After the brilliant premiere with an exceptionally positive feedback from participants, our partners and above all the fans, we are looking forward to hosting the NASCAR Whelen Euro Series in the next couple of years. Furthermore, we are really proud that the Semi Finals will take place at the Hockenheimring in 2018. It is an appreciated reassurance of the presentation and organization of this year’s American Fan Fest. Our goal is to provide a tight-paced program of motorsports, action and entertainment for fans and families, on and beside the race track.“

Sven Pribylla - General Manager, Circuit Zolder
“We’re happy to host the NASCAR Whelen Euro Series finals again !! Our track and paddock will be ready for the many families who visit these great close races with international heroes!!”

SEE BELOW FOR THE COMPLETE 2018 NWES SCHEDULE
 

Date Round Track Country Type Lenght
Apr 14 Round 1 Valencia Spain Road Course 4.005 Km
Apr 15 Round 2 Valencia Spain Road Course 4.005 Km
May 19 Round 3 Brescia, Franciacorta Italy Road Course 2.519 Km
May 20 Round 4 Brescia, Franciacorta Italy Road Course 2.519 Km
Jun 9 Round 5 Brands Hatch Great Britain Road Course 1.929 Km
Jun 10 Round 6 Brands Hatch Great Britain Road Course 1.929 Km
Jun 30 Round 7 Oval World Challenge, Tours France Oval 0.650 Km
Jul 1 Round 8 Oval World Challenge, Tours France Oval 0.650 Km
-- PLAYOFFS: DOUBLE POINTS --
Sept 15 Semi Final 1 Hockenheim Germany Road Course 3.692 Km
Sept 16 Semi Final 2 Hockenheim Germany Road Course 3.692 Km
Oct 20 Final 1 Zolder Belgium Road Course 4.011 Km
Oct 21 Final 2 Zolder Belgium Road Course 4.011 Km

NASCAR Euro Series PR

The young St-Joseph-de-Beauce driver will be back on track this Sunday after a month break since his last race. The 52nd edition of the Governor's Cup 200 will be the challenge at hand for Lessard, the driver of the #99 Toyota Camry, on Sunday afternoon, November 12 at the New Smyrna Speedway in Florida.

This weekend's race will be Lessard's 22nd of 23 races planned for the 2017 season. The Toyota Racing Development (TRD) driver's final race will be on Dec 3rd in Pensacola, Florida, when he attends the famous Snow Ball Derby at the Five Flags Speedway.

This weekend's race will draw some of the best drivers in Super Late Model, among them Ty Majeski, winner of the last two editions of the Governor's Cup and Jeff Choquette also a double winner of this race over the years. There will be 26 drivers participating in this weekend's 200-lap race. The pay-off to the winner will be nothing less than $15,000 US.

RLR PR

Derek Kraus had a hard-fought battle to earn the 2017 K&N Pro Series West Sunoco Rookie of the Year title.

While the rookie had a successful rookie season with Bill McAnally Racing amassing one win, nine top-five and ten top-10 finishes, it seemed like fellow rookie Will Rodgers was always right behind him.

“The season went well,” the 16-year-old said. “We had a lot of top five and top three finishes. It was a tight battle with Will throughout the entire season. We had no break. But it helped motivate us and it kept us going throughout the year and we finished on a high note.”

The high-note the Stratford, Wisconsin, native is referring to is his first series career victory at the season finale at California’s Kern County Raceway Park.

“It was great finishing the season that way,” Kraus said. “I learned a lot throughout the season, like what it takes to be competitive, lead laps and ultimately win races. So, to get that victory really got the monkey off our backs.”

Kraus came close to earning his first NASCAR K&N Pro Series West win multiple times throughout the year, but was denied a trip to Victory Lane by Todd Gilliland, the 2017 K&N Pro Series West champion, and Chris Eggleston.

“It was amazing to finally get it done after finishing second or third to our BMR teammates throughout the season. It was the dream way to end my rookie year.

“While I don’t know what my plans are for next season as of now, earning not only my first win but also the Sunoco Rookie of the Year title definitely helps my confidence.”

The newly minted rookie of the year has plenty of people to credit for his success.

“I wouldn’t have accomplished anything close to this without my parents and the entire BMR team,” Kraus said. “I also have to thank Toyota, Carlyle Tools, Marilyn Fanetti and everyone else who has supported me throughout my racing career.”.

NASCAR PR

Sheldon “The Showstopper” Creed, announced today that he will return to MDM Motorsports to race the full 2018 ARCA Racing Series presented by Menards schedule, with the intention of bringing home the championship.

Creed, who turned 20 in September, had won at least one championship every year since 2008, but that was not possible this year, since he didn’t race full-time in any series. Instead, to build his stock car racing experience, he competed in 24 select races in 6 different series, including ARCA, the NASCAR K&N Pro Series East and West, Camping World Truck Series, Xfinity Series, and the Trans Am Series. In addition, he was able to return to the Stadium Super Trucks series, where he was the 2015 and 2016 champion, for non-conflicting events. In 11 SST races on 5 race weekends he took 5 wins and two 2nd places.

In 11 ARCA Series starts this season, Creed scored 5 top-five finishes and 8 top-10 finishes, as well as a General Tire Pole Award at Kentucky Speedway. In the final ARCA race of the season at Kansas Speedway, Creed dominated, starting 2nd and leading the most laps (52), before making contact with another car during a late race restart and cutting a tire, relegating him to a 19th place finish.

Another dominant performance by Creed came in the Trans Am Series at Road America in August, where he advanced from a 12th place start to take the lead and win by over 9 seconds in torrential rain. Later that same day, on a dry track, Creed’s 2nd career NASCAR Xfinity Series start would see him start from 40th place (for missing the driver’s parade), but race all the way up to 10th place by the end of the Stage 1. Unfortunately, a transmission problem would see him leave the race early with a mechanical DNF, but he had made a big impression.  

Creed’s regular spotter and top driver development expert, Lorin Ranier, is happy to see Creed return to MDM for a shot at the title. “I think that Sheldon came a long way this season, especially since the drivers he was competing against grew up racing on asphalt and Sheldon still has probably run less than 50 asphalt races in his life,” said Ranier. “He often showed tremendous speed and his race craft improved as the year went on. MDM really came into their own this season as well, and I have no doubt Sheldon and MDM will be hard to beat for the ARCA title in 2018.”  

Sheldon Creed on 2018:

“I’m super stoked to be coming back to MDM to race for the ARCA championship next year. They gave me great cars all year, and I feel really comfortable with them. They know that I give 100% every race and I know they do too, so it’s a great relationship,” said Creed. “I’m moving out to North Carolina in January to be near the shop and I’ll be training like crazy to be ready for next season. This year was all about learning, but next year will be all about winning and I can’t wait!”

Sheldon Creed PR

The youngest NASCAR PEAK Mexico Series champion. The youngest driver to win four Trans-Am championships. And the 2016 Wendell Scott Trailblazer Award winner.

As evidenced by the six drivers announced as part of the 2018 NASCAR Drive for Diversity Development Team, the roster for next year is stacked with emerging young talent ready to make their mark in the sport. The drivers represent a cross-section of backgrounds – both in terms of heritage and driving disciplines – and all share a common goal: To reach the highest levels of NASCAR.

“What we’re seeing with these six drivers is a group of very talented racers who have shown the ability on and off the track to excel at the next level,” said Jim Cassidy, NASCAR senior vice president of racing operations. “With an increased focus on seat time and competition among the drivers, we’re looking forward to watching them perform next season.”
 
“We are thrilled with the level of talent that applied for the program, were invited to the NASCAR Drive for Diversity Combine and, ultimately, the six who were selected to drive for Rev Racing in 2018,” said Max Siegel, CEO of Rev Racing. “As we’ve seen the program evolve over the years and produce wins and champions, and help elevate drivers such as Daniel Suárez, Kyle Larson and Darrell Wallace Jr. to the Monster Energy NASCAR Cup Series, these drivers have the ability and potential to carry that legacy forward.”
 
The 2018 NASCAR Drive for Diversity roster includes a pair of drivers who have been part of the NASCAR Next program, an industry initiative designed to spotlight the sport’s rising stars.
 
The new class features the following drivers:

  • Chase Cabre, 20, Tampa, Florida. Cabre finished sixth in the NASCAR K&N Pro Series East championship standings and was runner-up for Sunoco Rookie of the Year. He won the 21 Means 21 Pole Award twice and recorded four top-five finishes. He will return to compete in the NASCAR K&N Pro Series East and will also race a Late Model in the NASCAR Whelen All-American Series.
     
  • Ernie Francis Jr., 19, Dania, Florida. Francis has already locked up his fourth Trans Am Series championship, becoming the youngest driver in series history to do so. He has 32 Trans Am Series wins – the most in series history – and 15 Pirelli World Challenge victories. Francis will be a development driver with Rev Racing, running road-course events in the K&N Pro Series East and select Late Model events, as well as testing, as he transitions to oval-track racing.
     
  • Rubén García Jr., 21, Mexico City, Mexico. García will return to Rev Racing for his third season. The 2015 NASCAR PEAK Mexico Series champion finished fifth in the NASCAR K&N Pro Series East this year and is third in the PEAK Mexico Series standings with one race remaining. The NASCAR Next graduate will join Cabre in the K&N Pro East in addition to racing in the Late Model.
     
  • Nick Sanchez, 16, Homestead, Florida. Sanchez finished fifth in the 10-race Bojangles Summer Shootout at Charlotte Motor Speedway with Rev Racing’s Legends Car program last year, and will move up to the team’s full-time Late Model in 2018. Sanchez had a win among five podium finishes in the Summer Shootout.
     
  • Ryan Vargas, 17, La Mirada, California. Vargas won the Wendell Scott Trailblazer Award in 2016 as the highest finishing multicultural or female driver in the NASCAR Whelen All-American Series Division I. He was runner-up for NASCAR Whelen All-American Series Josten’s Rookie of the Year for California in 2016 while racing at Irwindale and Bakersfield’s Kern County Raceway Park and the Bullring at Las Vegas Motor Speedway. This season, he scored a pair of wins this year to finish third in the state standings and 16th in the national standings. Vargas will drive in the third full-time K&N Pro Series East car and also race in the Late Model.
     
  • Isabella Robusto, 13, Fort Mill, South Carolina. Robusto will anchor Rev Racing’s Youth Driver Program as she returns to the team to drive in the Legends car. Robusto will be one of four youth development drivers, with the remaining three to be announced at a later date. She was third overall at the Bandolero Winter Nationals and was the South Carolina Legends Young Lions champion in 2016 and was third overall in points in the Bojangles Summer Shootout Series in 2015.

 
NASCAR Drive for Diversity aligns drivers with a team of executives, athletic directors, crew chiefs and mentors tasked with helping them achieve career successes, and thus improving their goal of reaching one of the three NASCAR national series.

The 2017 NASCAR season was another banner year for NASCAR Drive for Diversity alumni, as three graduates made a major impact at the sport’s highest level.

Kyle Larson earned four wins to establish his No. 42 Chip Ganassi Racing team as a force in the Monster Energy NASCAR Cup Series. A contender for Sunoco Rookie of the Year honors, Daniel Suárez this year became the first Mexican-born driver to compete full-time in the sport’s premier series, and in February raced in his first DAYTONA 500. Last month, Darrell Wallace Jr. was announced as the new driver of Richard Petty Motorsports’ iconic No. 43 Ford for the 2018 season.

For more information on NASCAR Drive for Diversity, visit NASCARDiversity.com.

Rev Racing PR

MDM Motorsports announced the second driver to its ARCA Racing Series lineup with 18-year-old Zane Smith committing to the organization for 2018.

Smith, who had an impressive three-race stint with MDM that included two poles, a pair of runner-up finishes and a third-place effort, will be teamed with veteran crew chief Mardy Lindley for the upcoming season.  Lindley led Harrison Burton to the 2017 NASCAR K&N Pro Series East championship and was a part of four ARCA wins this season, most recently at Kansas Speedway in the season finale. The Lindley-led team will head to Talladega Superspeedway tomorrow for a two-day test session with Smith as the ARCA Series teams prepare for the implementation of the composite race car bodies at the superspeedway events as part of the season-long mandate.

“I had the chance to work with Mardy and the team at MDM at multiple events late this year, and we were fast right off the truck at each track, so there’s a level of confidence going into a new season that I haven’t felt before,” Smith stated. “Going to Talladega this week for the superspeedway test with the composite bodies, for me, is more about building chemistry with my team.  They have certain things they want to accomplish with the aerodynamics of the race car, and I’m there to give my feedback and help us jell as a race team.  This wouldn’t be possible without my sponsors La Paz Mixes, Icon Vehicle Dynamics, KMC Wheels and SPEEDVEGAS, and it’s our goal to take each and every one of them to Victory Lane next year.”  

Smith, a native of Huntington Beach, Calif., has been racing since the age of three and has recorded more than 100 wins from Karts to Legends to Super Late Models.  Smith cemented himself as a top young driver by winning the overall Super Late Model championship at the World Series of Asphalt Stock Car Racing at New Smyrna (Fla.) Speedway and then finishing runner-up to Monster Energy NASCAR Cup Series star Chase Elliott in the 2015 Snowball Derby earning him a spot in the prestigious NASCAR Next class.

“We only caught a glimpse of what Zane’s capable of accomplishing behind the wheel of a race car in the three races that he drove for MDM this season,” said Mark McFarland, MDM Motorsports’ managing partner.  “Zane started on the front row in all three events and didn’t finish outside the top three at venues like Salem, Kentucky and Kansas.  We are building a great core of drivers for next season, and the addition of Zane, who is not only a great driver but a great teammate, will add depth to our organization as we run for a championship next season.”

Additional information about MDM Motorsports s available at: www.MDMmotorsports.com, find us on Facebook and follow the team on Twitter @MDMmotorsports

MDM Motorsports PR

After completing a successful 2017 season, David Gilliland Racing (DGR) is looking for up-and-coming talent to complete its 2018 driver development line-up. The Mooresville, N.C.-based team will field entries to compete in the K&N East Series and ARCA Series and is seeking young talent with marketing support to join the program. 
 
The DGR team will maintain, house, transport and direct every aspect of the racing program, including the providing of top-level equipment, experienced crew chief and spotter, and personal coaching from team owner and former Monster Energy NASCAR Cup Series driver David Gilliland.
 
DGR has run a successful program since 1998, when it began competing in weekly division events at the grassroots level to regional touring series at asphalt and dirt tracks around the country. Drivers who launched their racing careers through the DGR development program include 2016 and 2017 K&N West Series champion Todd Gilliland, 2016 CARS Super Late Model Tour champion Raphael Lessard and four-time 2017 K&N East Series pole winner Chase Purdy.
 
Interested candidates should contact This email address is being protected from spambots. You need JavaScript enabled to view it..
 
DGR PR

Four students were recognized for their accomplishment in technology and innovation as NASCAR and Chevrolet announced the winners of the third annual NASCAR Chevrolet Diversity Scholarship Contest Sunday at Texas Motor Speedway.

 

Four undergraduate students from across the country were awarded a total of $20,000 in scholarships and treated to a VIP experience at Sunday’s Monster Energy NASCAR Sprint Cup race, the AAA Texas 500. The winners were recognized in a press conference prior to the race.

 

The contest challenged students to identify a technology or innovation within NASCAR, then explain how Science, Technology, Engineering & Math (STEM) professionals came to its design in 90-second videos. Video submissions were judged on technical accuracy, creativity and production quality.

 

Cindy Yen, a sophomore at the University of Southern California, from Santa Monica, California, earned first place and a $10,000 scholarship. 

 

University of Notre Dame freshman Weston Dell, from Frankfort, Illinois, won $5,000. University of Houston student Nima Desai from Houston, Texas, and Broward College freshman Nicole Forero, from Coral Springs, Florida, were awarded third and fourth place, respectively, earning $2,500 scholarships each. 

 

"NASCAR is proud to work with Chevrolet and continue our longstanding commitment to STEM education by recognizing these tremendous students,” said Jim Cassidy, NASCAR senior vice president of racing operations. "These four students were recognized from an outstanding pool of candidates, and it’s a testament to the continued engagement of students in the pursuit of science and technology careers in our sport.”

 

“It’s an exciting time in the STEM field with the advancement of technology,” said Ken Barrett, chief diversity officer for General Motors. “At GM, we celebrate unique perspectives propelled by diversity and champion innovative ideas; Ideas that change the automotive industry and the world.”

 

Before taking in the AAA Texas 500, the students had the chance to meet with 2017 NASCAR playoff drivers Jamie McMurray of Chip Ganassi Racing and Ryan Newman with Richard Childress Racing. Newman graduated from Purdue University with an engineering degree. The VIP experience also included pace car rides, garage and pit road tour, and a meet-and-greet with Chevrolet’s Monster Energy NASCAR Sprint Cup Series Program Manager Alba Colon.

 

Team Chevy PR

Todd Gilliland clinched his second consecutive championship in the NASCAR K&N Pro Series West on Saturday night at Kern County Raceway Park, while his Bill McAnally Racing teammate Derek Kraus captured his first career series win with a victory in the West Coast Stock Car Hall of Fame Championship 150 presented by NAPA AUTO PARTS.

The title caps off a dominant season by BMR’s drivers, as they finished first, second, and third in the standings; after winning 11 of 14 races this year.

Gilliland, who drove the No. 16 NAPA AUTO PARTS Toyota Camry to a second-place finish behind Kraus on Saturday, led BMR’s sweep of the top three positions in points; finishing 29 markers ahead of Chris Eggleston in the No. 99 NAPA Filters Toyota Camry. Kraus, a 16-year-old series rookie, finished third in points in the No. 19 Carlyle Tools Toyota Camry.

This marks a record eighth series championship for BMR and third straight title, matching the three consecutive championships in 1999, 2000, and 2001 that began the team’s championship run 18 years ago. BMR’s other two titles came in 2008 and 2010. 

“It was a great year,” said Gilliland, a 17-year-old from Sherrills Ford, North Carolina. “We finished in the top 10 in all but one race, and in that one we had a flat tire. This BMR team is what makes this go. I can’t thank them enough for the fast NAPA Toyotas they gave me all season.

“Young kids like me, we just want to race as much as we can. Being able to come out here to the West Coast is very special for me, with all our family out here. I’m not sure what next year’s going to hold, but these championships definitely help.”

Gilliland is the first driver to win back-to-back championships in the series since 2005. Mike Duncan won two straight titles in 2004 and 2005. Prior to that, BMR driver Brendan Gaughan had consecutive championships in 2000 and 2001.

Gilliland set fast time in qualifying on Saturday to win his seventh pole of the season, the 13th of his career. After leading the first two laps, he appeared content to settle back and let someone else set the pace. Kraus led a couple laps early and then charged out front for good on Lap 106, with Gilliland shadowing him all the way to the checkered flag.

“My car and Derek’s car were really evenly matched,” Gilliland said. “At the end, we pulled away from everyone a lot. That was really cool. That’s the way to end up the season. We wanted the win, but a championship run was what we were here to do.”

Kraus, who clinched the Sunoco Rookie of the Year Award, was elated to also bring home his first series win.

“We saved the tires and I think that’s what helped us at the end of the race,” Kraus said.

He credited his spotter, Eric Holmes, with urging him to conserve his tires.

“Eric was staying in my ear the whole night, telling me ‘save tires, save tires’ and that’s what we did,” said Kraus, who started the race on the outside of the front row.

“It’s a really good night, with getting my first race win in the number 19 Carlyle Tools Toyota and winning the Rookie of the Year,” Kraus said. “That’s really great for me and my career and gives us a boost toward next season.”

Eggleston, who trailed Gilliland by 11 points heading into the season finale on Saturday, charged to the lead of the race on Lap 24 and set the pace for 36 circuits before fading with a flat tire. A subsequent pit stop left him four laps down, and with a 20th-place finish.

Gilliland, a NASCAR Next driver, wrapped up his season with six wins, 11 top-five and 13 top-10 finishes. In addition to racing in the West division of the NASCAR K&N Pro Series this year, he also ran the full schedule in the East division – where he finished second in the championship standings.

Eggleston – the 2015 series champion from Erie, Colorado – finished with four wins, 11 top-five and 13 top-10 finishes. Saturday’s race was his first this season in which he failed to finish in the top 10.

Kraus of Stratford, Wisconsin registered one win, nine top-fives, and 10 top-10s this year. He was the top finishing rookie in seven of the 14 races.

NAPA AUTO PARTS, which served as the presenting sponsor of the championship race, was well represented at the event. NAPA guests viewed the race action from a VIP suite. BMR provided NAPA guests with a special VIP pit tour, as well as a special meet-and-greet with the team’s drivers.

Saturday’s race, which was the second visit by the series this year to KCRP and the seventh series event hosted by the track, is scheduled to be televised on NBCSN on Nov. 10 at 12:30 p.m. PT.

BMR PR

Todd Gilliland now has two NASCAR titles to his name as the 17-year-old Toyota driver captured his second-consecutive NASCAR K&N Pro Series West (NKNPSW) championship at Kern County Raceway Park with a runner-up result on Saturday night.

The Sherrills Ford, North Carolina-native is the fourth Toyota driver to win a motorsports title this season, joining Harrison Burton (NASCAR K&N Pro Series East), CJ Greaves (TORC: The Off-Road Championship PRO 4) and Ryan Millen (American Rally Association 2WD) in capturing championships to date in 2017.

“We’re very proud of Todd’s championship run this year – his second-straight title run – and we’re glad he’s driving a Toyota,” said Keith Dahl, motorsports general manager for Toyota Motor North America (TMNA). “Toyota has had some incredible young talents work their way through the NASCAR K&N Pro Series ranks, and Todd Gilliland is as impressive as any. For Toyota, it’s important for us to help give young drivers the opportunity to advance their careers, and we’re honored to be associated with up-and-coming champions like Todd and East champion Harrison Burton.”

The son of former Monster Energy NASCAR Cup Series driver David Gilliland, Todd becomes the first driver since 2005 to win back-to-back NKNPSW championships. Gilliland also captured the 2016 NKNPSW championship in his first full-time season competing in the series. The 2017 title was clinched on the strength of six wins and 13 top-10 finishes in 14 series starts this season.

It was a great year,” said Gilliland. “Young kids like me, we just want to race as much as we can. Being able to come out here to the West Coast is very special to me, with all our family out here. I’m not sure what next year is going to hold, but these championships definitely help."

Toyota’s Burton captured the NASCAR K&N Pro Series East (NKNPSE) championship with a victory at Delaware’s Dover International Speedway in late September.

Toyota drivers have now captured a combined 10 championships in the NKNPSE (five) and NKNPSW (five). Gilliland becomes the second Toyota driver to capture multiple NKNPSW titles, joining Eric Holmes (2008 and 2010), while Chris Eggleston (2015) has won one title.

Toyota Racing PR

On a night where one Bill McAnally Racing teenager earned his first career win, another earned his second career NASCAR K&N Pro Series West championship.

Derek Kraus won the West Coast Stock Car Hall of Fame Championship 150 presented by NAPA Auto Parts at Kern County Raceway Park for his first career NASCAR K&N Pro Series West victory while Todd Gilliland won the 2017 NASCAR K&N Pro Series West title.

The night belonged to NASCAR Next driver Todd Gilliland. He brought his No. 16 NAPA Auto Parts Toyota home in second-place, but it was more than enough to clinch his second straight championship.

"It feels great," the 17-year-old from Sherrills Ford, North Carolina, said, soaked after a Victory Lane celebration. "All this hard work and dedication these guys put in, and it all comes down to this. To be able to get it done is very special."

Coming into Kern, Gilliland needed to finish seventh or better, regardless of what teammate and championship rival Chris Eggleston did. Unfortunately for Eggleston, a flat tire on lap 65 forced him to go behind the wall for repairs and fall multiple laps down. He wound up finishing in 20th, three laps down.

"I was pretty confident," Gilliland said of his mindset throughout the evening. "With the speed we had and the position we were able to ride in, I thought we were going to have a really good shot at the win. Always a little disappointed in that, but I'm very proud of our effort all season long. To be able to come home the 2017 champion two years in a row is really surreal, and we just have to take it all in."

The title is the eighth in Bill McAnally Racing history and third consecutive (Eggleston in 2015, Gilliland in 2016 and 2017). The last time BMR won three titles in a row was from 1999-2001, when Sean Woodside and Brendan Gaughan (twice) brought home the hardware.

Kraus, Gilliland's teammate, stopped Gilliland from winning his third consecutive race at Kern. The 16-year-old rookie from Stratford, Wisconsin, took the lead with 44 laps to go and didn't look back. Kraus' first career K&N Pro Series West win has been a longtime coming, he earned three runner-up finishes this season and had a win in his grasp multiple throughout the year. Most recently at Idaho's Meridian Speedway, he had the lead on the final overtime restart, but it slipped away.

"That Meridian race was actually going through my mind those last 30 laps," Kraus said in Victory Lane next to his No. 19 Carlyle Tools Toyota. "But it's been a really good night with getting Rookie of the Year and getting a race win, my first race win. That's really great for me and my career, and will help boost me into next season."

The win allowed Kraus to clinch the Sunoco Rookie of the Year award over Will Rodgers, who he'd been battling with down the stretch. Kraus finishes the 2017 season with nine top fives, 10 top 10s, one pole and one victory.

Riley Herbst continued the BMR podium sweep finishing third while Michael Self and NASCAR K&N Pro Series East regular Dillon Bassett rounded out the top five.

Derek Thorn, Buddy Shepherd, Will Rodgers, Max Tullman and Nicole Behar completed the top 10.

The West Coast Stock Car Hall of Fame Championship 150 is scheduled to air on NBCSN Friday, Nov. 10 at 3:30 p.m. ET.

NASCAR PR