Chris Eggleston captured his fourth NASCAR K&N Pro Series West victory of the season, cuts Todd Gilliland’s championship lead after leading all 154 laps.
A flat tire by points leader Todd Gilliland and a overtime finish didn’t stop Erie, Colorado’s Chris Eggleston from dominating the NAPA Auto Parts 150 at Evergreen Speedway in Monroe, Washington Saturday.
Eggleston held off Watkins Glen winner Will Rodgers and Spokane native Nicole Behar for his fourth win of the K&N Pro Series West season after leading all 154 laps, cutting Gilliland’s championship lead from 18 points down to six.
Eggleston said he fought his championship competitors throughout the race to maintain his wire-to-wire lead with its largest lead being four seconds late in the race.
“Will was giving me a lot of pressure in the first segment and when Todd moved to second, I thought he was going to pressure us more than he did,” Eggleston said. “I had a lot of fun, Evergreen is one of my favorite places to come to and it’s our first win. I thought we came close last year. I was finally able to park it into victory lane and I’m so excited.”
Eggleston said anytime he’s able to beat Gilliland is an accomplishment for him and his racing team.
“It was a good points night. Todd is so talented and to run up with him and to get a win like this is really exciting,” Eggleston said. “All my guys in the No. 99 NAPA Filters Toyota team put us here in victory lane. I’m so proud to be a part of this organization with Bill McAnally Racing and for NAPA Filters and Toyota for giving us this opportunity and allowing us to be out there.”
Gilliland started ninth and slowly worked his way up to second before the lap 75 halftime break.
Problems began for Gilliland after dropping from second on the second half restart to fifth on lap 83. Then on lap 122, Gilliland made an unscheduled pit stop for a flat tire and put him a lap down. Gilliland finished eighth, his worst of the season.
Behar’s road to third place began after crashing her primary car in practice.
Then on lap 34, Behar collided with Takuma Koga in turn one to bring out the first of four cautions.
Behar sustained right front and nose damage but her family team repaired her car and kept her on the lead lap.
The second segment was kind to Behar as she began passing cars highlighted by a three-wide pass over fifth place Julia Landauer and the lapped car of Andrew Engberson on lap 119.
Behar remained in fifth until lap 147 when third place Derek Kraus turned around second place Tayler Riddle in turn one, resulting a overtime finish.
NASCAR officials held Kraus for a lap on pit road and it moved Behar up to third on the final restart.
Behar wrapped up her comeback performance by beating Michael Self for third and captured her best finish of the season.
Behar said despite the setbacks from practice and the incident with Koga, her performance was satisfying after finishing outside the top 10 the last four races.
“I was confident our car was willing to do what it did,” Behar said. “It’s not easy to unload a backup car and be good. We had a couple of rough races in a row and this was definitely a big turnaround.”
Four out of the 19 drivers failed to finish.
Randy Vanderwal was the first retired driver after falling off the pace due to a mechanical failure on lap 7.
Koga’s night went from bad to worse after the first caution, pitting several times until retiring for good on lap 100 with suspension problems.
Jesse Iwuji’s rear end began smoking on lap 119 and pulled off the track to end his night.
Blaine Perkins lost an engine on lap 143 and captured his first DNF in his K&N Pro Series West career after finishing his first 24 starts.
Landauer finished sixth, followed by Matt Levin, Gilliland, Todd Souza and Ron Norman.
Seven cars finished on the lead lap and Rodgers was the highest finishing rookie.
Self set the fastest lap with a time of 23.686 seconds (98.185 mph), taking place on lap 4.
The K&N Pro Series West has four races remaining with its next stop taking place at Douglas County Speedway in Roseburg, Oregon Aug. 26.
NAPA Auto Parts 150 at Evergreen Results
1. 99 – Chris Eggleston
2. 7 – Will Rodgers (R)
3. 33 – Nicole Behar
4. 9 – Michael Self
5. 27 – Tayler Riddle (R)
6. 6 – Julia Landauer
7. 10 – Matt Levin
8. 16 – Todd Gilliland (-1 lap)
9. 13 – Todd Souza (-1 lap)
10. 40 – Ron Norman (-1 lap)
11. 30 – Stafford Smith (-1 lap)
12. 19 – Derek Kraus (R) (-1 lap)
13. 32 – Kody Vanderwal (R) (-3 laps)
14. 14 – Andrew Engberson (-3 laps)
15. 38 – John Wood (-8 laps)
16. 21 – Blaine Perkins (engine)
17. 36 – Jesse Iwuji (oil leak)
18. 11 – Takuma Koga (suspension)
19. 39 – Rudy Vanderwal (mechanical)