Todd Gilliland Takes Home K&N Pro Series East Win For Dad’s Team At New Smyrna

Todd Gilliland celebrates victory Sunday in the K&N Pro Series East season opener at New Smyrna Speedway (Photo: Jim DuPont)

By Denise DuPont

NEW SMYRNA, Fla. – K&N Pro Series East opened their 2018 season tonight at New Smyrna Speedway as part of the 52nd Annual World Series of Asphalt Stock Car Racing. Twenty-nine K&N Pro Series teams showed up for group qualifying and their starting position for the New Smyrna 175.

When all was said and done, 2017 K&N East Pro Series champion Harrison Burton in the #12 Toyota Camry for MDM Motorsports car had fastest time of 18.428. Second was seventeen year old Todd Gilliland Todd Gilliland in #54 Toyota Camry for David Gilliland Racing Team car.

There were two breaks planned (on or around) lap 63 or 125. Gas was allowed to be taken only during a break. Burton selected not to pit during both breaks.  On the first break (lap 65) Burton inherited the lead from Gilliland. Pulling from the pits, Gilliland fell in line in position two. Leaders selected not to pit during the second break on lap127.On the restart Burton faltered and Gilliland took the lead on lap 131.

Burton and Gilliland dominated the top two positions all but the last lap of the 175 lap feature race. Gilliland and Burton were racing hard bumping and rubbing paint. At one time they were both sideways going into turn four. Cole Rouse in the #99 NAPA Filters Camry charged forward on the inside of them to make it three wide heading to the finish line.  Gilliland put his pedal to the floor to regain his top position and capture the first 2018 K&N Pro Series East race.

“I cannot thank my whole team enough they built me a super race car.” Stated Gilliland in victory lane. “It is just a dream come true to be back into victory lane. Now we have a few more things to accomplish this year and try to look to the future.”

Notes From K&N Pro Series New Smyrna 175:

Harrison Burton and Todd Gilliland raced side by side, nose to tail and three wide. What were the driver’s thoughts about the race end?

Harrison Burton
“I did not mean to push him (Todd Gilliland) up the track as we were racing hard. I made a mistake. We both got sideways and I am glad Todd was able to straighten his car out. I had to save gas all the time and make the most of my moves to be there at race end.”

Todd Gilliland
We were racing hard for the win and that stuff happens. We bump into each other both hungry for a win. Things were real intense.”

Cole Rouse
“I was trying to get close to them to force them apart for the win, but they both pulled away. We will be back and hopefully we can beat them next time. Hopefully we can make it one spot better next time.”

How did it feel to win a race for you dad’s own team?

Todd Gilliland
Gilliland won the New Smyrna 175 in a car from his dad’s team “It was special. There are still a lot of K&N races available and you could drive this car. Hopefully we get more people in. Gilliland has top notch equipment and I am super lucky to be able to drive it. Hopefully I get a few more opportunities this year.”

Jim DuPont Photo Gallery – K&N Pro Series East Action From New Smyrna Speedway 

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