Coming off of his first win of the season yesterday, second-year driver Noah Gragson of Las Vegas made it two in a row with another NASCAR K&N Pro Series West victory on Sunday at Utah Motorsports Campus, albeit not without some controversy.
Spins leader on last lap to win
With two corners to go on the last lap of the 36-lap race on the 3.048-mile Outer Course, then-second-placed Gragson hit race and championship leader Todd Gilliland, pushing him off-track and taking the lead. Gragson went on to post a 3.809-second margin of victory in his No. 7 Speed Vegas/Alert ID/Colliers International Ford Fusion. It was his fourth win since joining the series last year.
Gilliland recovered to finish second in his No. 16 NAPA Auto Parts Toyota Camry, with polesitter Ryan Partridge taking the final podium position in his No. 9 Eibach Springs/Sunrise Ford/Lucas Oil Ford Fusion. Riley Herbst was fourth in the No. 19 NOS Energy Drink Toyota, with Todd Souza rounding out the top five in the No. 13 Central Coast Cabinets Toyota after fighting his way back from a Lap-3 spin.
The grid for Sunday’s race was set based on the fastest race laps in Saturday’s event. As a result, Partridge started on pole, with Gilliland alongside and Gragson in third. Gilliland got past Partridge to take the lead on Lap 6. Herbst, meanwhile, worked his way past Gragson and Partridge, and passed Gilliland to take the lead on Lap 18.
On Lap 29, despite sporadic smoke coming from his car, Gilliland was able to retake the lead from Herbst at nearly the same time that Gragson, who had fallen to 12th in avoidance of an earlier incident and worked back through the field to fourth, was overtaking Partridge for third.
The top four stayed in their positions until the last-lap incident between Gragson and Gilliland.
Gilliland entered Sunday’s race with an 11-point lead in the championship, and upped the gap to 13 points with Sunday’s result. Gragson is now third in the championship, 24 points behind Partridge.
The Utah Region of the National Auto Sport Association held the final races of the weekend for its Thunder and Lightning amateur sports car classes prior to the NASCAR race. In the Lighting Group, winners were as follows: GTS2, Chris Haunold; PTE, Todd Green; Spec Miata, Chris Bond; Spec Z, LYFE Motorsport; and Thunder Roadster, JD Stull. In the Thunder Group, class winners were: GTS2, Mark Reichman; GTS4, Gregory Dell; Super Touring 1, Erik Nemnich; Super Touring 2, J.R. Smith; Super Touring 3, Frank Ganett; and Super Unlimited, Steve Burns.
The track will be back in action next weekend with the Intermountain Region of the Porsche Club of America, Round 10 of the Utah Kart Championship and Round 7 of the Utah Supermoto Championship. Tickets will be priced at $5 for adults, with kids 12 and under admitted free of charge.
For event or ticket questions, or for information regarding Utah Motorsports Campus, browse this website or call 435-277-8000. For more information about the NASCAR K&N Pro Series west, visit their website at http://hometracks.nascar.com/races/KN-Pro-Series-West. For information on NASA Utah, visit their website at www.NASAUtah.com.
Utah Motorsports Campus is managing the facility formerly known as Miller Motorsports Park on behalf of Tooele County while the procedures to sell the facility take place.
John Gardner, Public Relations Manager