Todd Gilliland, 17, is on the cusp of NASCAR history – Orange County Register

This could be the start of a historic feat for Todd Gilliland, the one-time Chino Hills resident. At Dover International Speedway in Delaware on Friday, he could clinch the NASCAR K&N Pro Series East championship. After the race, he’ll head West for a K&N West race.
He’s the points leader in both series.
Gilliland has an eight-point lead over Harrison Burton in an Eastern race that has both drivers with virtually identical statistics. Each has four wins, and each has finished in the top 10 in all 13 races this season. A third-place finish, or better, will give the 17-year-old Gilliland the championship trophy. However, if Burton, also the son of a former Cup driver, finishes first, he’ll win the crown.
Neither Gilliland or Burton has much experience at Dover. Burton finished sixth last season in his only start there; Gilliland has not competed at the Monster Mile.
For the West race, Gilliland will fly out immediately for Meridian, Idaho. He leads Bill McAnally Racing teammate Chris Eggleson by five points with two races remaining on the schedule after this weekend.
There’s little doubt Gilliland has the confidence needed for such a grueling weekend.
“I’m really confident about our Dover package for our Napa Toyota,” Gilliland said earlier in the week. “It’s going to be really busy, especially with it being the finale for the East. Right after Dover, we’ll get busy focusing on the West and Meridian.
“It’s been super busy, but I feel like it’s made me better as a driver.”
A tight finish in the East is nothing new. Twice in the past three seasons, the title contenders have been separated by fewer than 15 points.
Gilliland is the defending champion at the quarter-mile oval Meridian. He has six wins, eight top fives and 10 top 10s in 11 West races this season. He won the most recent West race at Douglas (Ore.) County for his series-leading sixth win. Gilliland owns 13 career West wins.
SoCal leaders
The NHRA championship season will reach the halfway point this weekend in St. Louis, with Southern California drivers in the thick of two of the four classes.
Ron Capps, the Funny Car defending champion from Carlsbad, is just eight points ahead of Yorba Linda’s Robert Hight of John Force Racing. Hight won the playoff opener but was eliminated early in Reading, Pa. Teammate Courtney Force is third, 39 points behind Capps.
“It’s a lot of pressure, because you’ve got a great race car and you don’t want to screw it up,” Hight said after his…

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