Wednesday, March 15, 2017

Analyzing the NAPA Auto Parts 150 at Tucson Speedway

DAYTONA BEACH, Fla. (March 15, 2017) — The 2017 NASCAR K&N Pro Series West begins with the NAPA Auto Parts Tucson 150 at Arizona's Tucson Speedway on Saturday, March 18. Below is a look at the NAPA Auto Parts 150 and some of the selected participants.

NAPA Auto Parts Tucson 150 Race Setup:
• For the first time since 1999, Tucson Speedway hosts the opening race of the NASCAR K&N Pro Series West season.
• Tucson becomes the third different track in as many years to host the season-opening event, and it is the first race in the four-race NAPA Challenge 500 series.
• Ryan Partridge swept the pole and the race win at the track last year.

At Tucson Speedway:
• Tucson Speedway was built in 1968 and the surface was originally clay.
• Was named Raven Speedway from 1968-93 and then Tucson Raceway Park from 1993-2010.
• The track was closed in 2010 and was re-opened in 2013 at Tucson Speedway.
• Tucson re-joined the NASCAR Whelen All-American Series in 2014.
• For several years, Tucson was the host of the “Winter Heat” series that launched the careers of such future NASCAR national series drivers as Greg Biffle, Kurt Busch, Ron Hornaday Jr. and Matt Crafton.

• This is the series’ 14th event at Tucson and the third since 2001.
• Thirteen different drivers, led by Ron Hornaday Jr. with two victories, have won at Tucson.
• Nine different drivers, led by Butch Gilliland with five, have earned the pole award at the track.
• The most cautions for a K&N Pro Series West race is nine and occurred in June 1993 and January 1995, while the fewest cautions is two in May 2016.
• The most caution laps for a race is 51 in November 1994 and January 1995, while the fewest is 15 in May 2016.

Tucson Data:
Race: #1 of 14 overall
Race Date: Saturday, March 18, 8:30 p.m. MT
Broadcast Date: Friday, March 24 at 8:30 p.m. ET/5:30 p.m. PT
Track Layout: .375-mile paved oval
Banking/Corners: Variable, between 8 and 12 degrees
Race Length: 150 laps (56.25 miles)

Qualifying/Race Data:
2016 Winner: Ryan Partridge
2016 Pole Sitter: Ryan Partridge
1-lap Qualifying Record: Butch Gilliland, Chevrolet, 15.284 seconds (88.328 mph), June 1996.
150-lap Race Record: Ryan Partridge, Ford, 54 minutes, 26 seconds, (64.483 mph), May 2016.

Category Leaders at Tucson:
Ron Hornaday Jr. … 2
Johnny Borneman … 1
Mike Chase … 1
Gary Collins ... 1
Butch Gilliland … 1
Doug George … 1
Noah Gragson … 1
Mark Krogh … 1
Ryan Partridge … 1
Bill Sedgwick … 1
Gary Smith … 1
Dirk Stephens … 1
Sean Woodside … 1

Butch Gilliland … 5
Ron Hornaday Jr. … 2
John Baker … 1
Jerry Cain … 1
Gary Collins … 1
Ron Norman … 1
Ryan Partridge … 1
Jason Small … 1
Gary Smith … 1
Laps Completed
Butch Gilliland … 1725
Scott Gaylord … 1395
Wayne Jacks … 1379
Bill McAnally … 1362

Laps Led
Ron Hornaday Jr. … 383
Butch Gilliland … 361
Mike Chase … 215
Ryan Partridge … 214
Gary Smith … 200

Selected Driver Highlights:
Nicole Behar (No. 33 Custom Welding & Fabrication Toyota)
• Finished 10th in the final K&N West standings in 2015, her only full season in the series, with two top fives and nine top 10s in 13 races.
• Finished fifth at Tucson in her only career start at the track.
• Qualified ninth in her only race at Tucson.

Chris Eggleston (No. 99 NAPA Filters Toyota)
• Has five career K&N West wins with 19 top fives and 22 top 10s in 31 career starts.
• Was the 2015 series champion as a rookie for Bill McAnally Racing.
• Finished third at Tucson last season for his best career finish at the track.
• Has two career top five starts at Tucson in as many races.

Todd Gilliland (No. 16 NAPA Auto Parts Toyota)
• Won six of 14 races last season with 11 top fives and 13 top 10s en route to the K&N West championship, becoming the youngest champion in NASCAR touring series history at 16 years, five months, and joined his grandfather Butch Gilliland as a K&N West champion (1997).
• Started fourth and finished second in his only career start at Tucson last season.
• Plans to run both the K&N West and K&N East schedules in 2017.

Julia Landauer (No. 6 Lucas Oil/Eibach/Sunrise Ford)
• Finished fourth in the final standings last season to become the highest finishing female driver in K&N West history.
• Posted seven top fives and 13 top 10s in 14 races as a rookie.
• Finished fifth in her only career start at Tucson after starting 12th.

Derek Kraus (No. 19 Carlyle Tools Toyota)
• Made his K&N Pro Series debut with the East at New Smyrna and finished third.
• Will run full-time as a rookie in the K&N West this season for car owner Bill McAnally.

Ryan Partridge (No. 9 Lucas Oil/Eibach/Sunrise Ford)
• Finished second in the final K&N West standings last year with three wins, 10 top fives and 13 top 10s in 14 races.
• Won both the pole and the race at Tucson, where he has two top fives in two career starts.
• Has led 214 of the last 312 laps contested at Tucson.

Vanessa Robinson (No. 55 Jefferson Pitts Racing Ford)
• Competed weekly in the NASCAR Whelen All-American Series Super Late Model division at Tucson.
• Won the 2015 NWAAS Arizona state Rookie of the Year title.

Will Rodgers (No. 7 Solvang Brewing Company Ford)
• Competed in six races a year ago and will run for K&N West Rookie of the Year this season.
• Posted career best finishes in back-to-back races at Utah Motorsports Campus last year.

Up To Speed:
• The 2017 season is the 64th for the NASCAR K&N Pro Series West.
• The 2017 schedule features 14 races at 12 different tracks across the United States.
• Third-generation driver Todd Gilliland won the season opener last year at Irwindale Speedway, the first of two straight wins to open the year.
• This marks the first time since 1999 that the K&N Pro Series West season begins at Tucson Speedway.