Todd Gilliland’s first victory in the NASCAR K&N Pro Series West last weekend at Phoenix has been clouded by a severe NASCAR penalty.
Gilliland, the 15-year-old son of NASCAR veteran David Gilliland and grandson of 1997 series champion Butch Gilliland, won last Thursday’s series finale in his first series start. He held off William Byron in two-lap overtime to secure the win.
On Thursday, NASCAR announced Todd’s No. 54 team had been assessed a P5 penalty – the second-highest in NASCAR – after the lubrication oil reservoir tank cover was discovered not bolted in place during post-race inspection and that it had not remained in place during the race itself.
NASCAR’s rulebook specifically requires the cover remain securely fastened “at all times during competition” and teams must take “any steps necessary” to ensure it remains intact.
Theoretically, the unattached cover can provide an aerodynamic advantage as well as causing safety concerns with engine integrity.
Gilliland will be allowed to keep the win but both Gilliland and the listed team owner, Bill McAnally, were each docked 30 points.
In addition, crew chief Seth Smith was fined $3,500 and has been suspended for the next three K&N Pro Series West races. He’s also been placed on NASCAR probation for a six-month period across two consecutive racing seasons.
It remains uncertain whether Smith will appeal his penalties.