DACONO, Colo. — Chris Eggleston has made it clear that he’s in the championship fight for the NASCAR K&N Pro Series West title.
For the second straight race, the 28-year-old from Erie, Colorado, won the Coors Light Pole Award and then pulled away from the field en route to the checkered flag. Saturday night, the win came at Eggleston’s home track of Colorado National Speedway in the NAPA/Toyota 150.
“I didn’t feel like we had the winning race car there in the early goings,” Eggleston said in Victory Lane. “The No. 16 (Gilliland) kinda got out front, checked out, and was holding a pretty good race pace a little bit. I did everything I could to keep up with him without abusing the tires. And our car wasn’t really good firing off on short run speed, but it really had a lot of long run speed.”
Eggleston’s No. 99 Platinum NAPA Filters Toyota led a Bill McAnally Racing sweep of the top three spots — he was followed across the finish line by runner-up Derek Kraus and championship points leader Todd Gilliland — for his third win in the last four series races at the .375-mile oval just miles from his hometown.
Ironically, he finished third in 2015 when he won the series title.
“Once we checked out and got single file, I didn’t think there was going to be that much grip on the top in (Turns) One and Two,” said Eggleston, who pulled away for a win by .767 seconds following a retart with 14 to go. “It’s just predominantly lost grip the last couple years, and we kind of tested the waters out there midway through the race. I thought we found some speed, and it helped me conserve tires more than anything running up there and it kind of saved us.
“Hats off to everybody at Bill McAnally Racing, NAPA Auto Parts; three wins in s season, that’s the best we’ve ever done and we’re just hopefully going to build on that and keep chipping away on that 16’s lead.”
The win was the eighth in his career and allowed Eggleston to inch closer to Gilliland, who leads by seven points after seven of 14 races this season. The two have combined to win every race, with Eggleston taking the season opener before Gilliland rolled off four straight to build his championship lead. But Eggleston has responded with back-to-back victories to tighten the points back up.
Eggleston was fastest in both practice sessions and claimed his third career Coors Light Pole earlier in the day. Eggleston took the lead from Gilliland using a pass on the outside on Lap 100 and then withstood several challenges on restarts from both Gilliland and Kraus. Gilliland led a race-high 85 laps and Eggleston led 64.
Gracin Raz finished fourth, followed by rookie Kody Vanderwal.
Julia Landauer, Ron Norman, Michael Self, rookie Will Rodgers and Todd Souza rounded out the top 10.
The NAPA/Toyota 150 will air on NBCSN on Thursday, June 15 at 7 p.m. ET.
The K&N Pro Series has a weekend off before heading to the road course, with the Carneros 200 at Sonoma Raceway.