Tuesday, September 20, 2016

Partridge's Championship Chase of Gilliland Heads To Meridian

DAYTONA BEACH, Fla. (Sept. 20, 2016) - With just two races left in the 2016 NASCAR K&N Pro Series West season, Ryan Partridge is running out of time to chase down championship leader Todd Gilliland. He will get his penultimate opportunity Saturday at Idaho's Meridian Speedway.

Gilliland, 16, from Sherrills Ford, North Carolina, holds a 13-point lead over Partridge, 28, from Rancho Cucamonga, California, headed into the NAPA Auto Parts/Idaho 208.

The two championship contenders have been dueling for the top spot all season long, swapping the lead only three times. Gilliland, a member of the 2016 NASCAR Next class, held the lead up until a misfortune at Sonoma opened the door for Partridge to take first in the standings. The veteran's held that spot for two events before Gilliland took it back with the first of three straight wins.

Partridge returned to Victory Lane at Oregon's Douglas County Speedway at the end of August to cut into Gilliland's lead, but the rookie scored back-to-back runner-up finishes on the Utah road-course to open up the gap again.

RACE: NAPA Auto Parts/Idaho 208
DATE: Saturday, Sept. 24
TIME: 8:30 p.m. MT
TV SCHEDULE: NBCSN, Friday, Sept. 30, 12:30 p.m. ET/10:30 a.m. MT
2015 WINNER: Noah Gragson
2015 POLE WINNER: Noah Gragson
EVENT SCHEDULE: Garage opens: 10 a.m.; Practice: 12:30-1:15 p.m.; Final Practice: 1:45-2:30 p.m.; Driver/Crew Chief Meeting: 4:30 p.m.; Qualifying: 5 p.m.; Driver Autograph Session: 5:45 p.m.; Driver Introductions: 8 p.m.; NAPA Auto Parts/Idaho 208: 8:30 p.m.
TRACK CONTACT: John Brown, Public Relations, (208) 888-2813
TRACK TWITTER: @meridianspeed
NASCAR IMC CONTACT: Brooke Franceschini, (386) 631-6142, bfranceschini@nascar.com

The Race: The NAPA Auto Parts/Idaho 208 is the 13th race of the 2016 NASCAR K&N Pro Series East season. It's the 10th of 11 ovals events and 14 races overall on the schedule. This will be the series' third visit to the Meridian, Idaho, facility since 1972.

The Procedure: The starting field is 22 cars, including provisionals. The first 18 cars will qualify through two-lap time trials with the remaining four spots being awarded through the provisional process. The race is scheduled for 208 laps covering 52 miles.

The Track: Meridian Speedway is a quarter-mile asphalt oval that has been in operation since 1951.

The Records: Qualifying: Noah Gragson, Ford, 13.017 seconds (69.140 mph), Sept. 5, 2015. 208-Lap Race Record: Noah Gragson, Ford, 1 hour 19 minutes 16 seconds (39.361 mph), Sept. 5, 2015.

Sunoco Rookie of the Year Clinch: Todd Gilliland could clinch the Sunoco Rookie of the Year award this weekend at Meridian. The rookie currently holds at 15-point lead over Bill McAnally Racing teammate Riley Herbst (109-94). To walk away with the trophy, Gilliland has to leave Meridian with a 10-point lead over Herbst in the Sunoco Rookie of the Year standings.

Gragson Looks To Keep Hot Streak Alive: Noah Gragson will look to keep his win streak alive this weekend at Meridian. The 17-year-old from Las Vegas, Nevada, won both the NASCAR K&N Pro Series West doubleheader events at Utah Motorsports Park and followed it up with another road course win last weekend at New Jersey Motorsports Park in the NASCAR K&N Pro Series East. The NASCAR Next driver has the odds in his favor, he won last year's NAPA Auto Parts/Idaho 208 after starting on the pole. The defending race winner, sits 37 points back of Gilliland in the championship standings. Gragson must remain within 48 points of Gilliland after Meridian to remain in contention.

Series Performance At Quarter-Mile Ovals: The K&N Pro Series West has competed at two other quarter-mile ovals this season: California's Orange Show Speedway and fellow Idaho track, Stateline Speedway. At each race, Bill McAnally Racing was the team to beat with Chris Eggleston winning at Orange Show and Todd Gilliland taking the win at Stateline.

Newhouse Returns: Local Idaho favorite Hannah Newhouse will return to the NASCAR K&N Pro Series West Saturday at her home track with Jefferson Pitts Racing. Newhouse competed with the team this year at the season opener at California's Irwindale Speedway and finished seventh. Newhouse won Meridian's NAPA Big 5 Late Model Division 9 championship this year.