At just 16, Todd Gilliland wins his first NASCAR championship
Todd Gilliland’s first fulltime season in the NASCAR K&N Pro Series West was a record-setting one.
Gilliland, the 16-year-old son of NASCAR veteran David Gilliland, had already won rookie of the year honors in the series before Saturday night’s season finale at All American Speedway in Roseville, Calif.
An eighth-place finish in that race clinched an even bigger prize for the younger Gilliland – his first NASCAR championship.
Gilliland, who drives the No. 16 Toyota for Bill McAnally Racing, wrapped up the year with six wins, 11 top-five and 13 top-10 finishes in 14 starts. He also opened the 2016 season with a win at New Smyrna Speedway in the NASCAR K&N Pro Series East.
He is the youngest to win the series championship at 16 years 5 months old, as well as the youngest champion in the history of any NASCAR national or touring series.
“We had an amazing season,” said Gilliland, a member of the 2016 NASCAR Next program that spotlights NASCAR’s rising stars. “I’ve got to say thank you to NAPA and Toyota – everyone that made it possible – and to Bill McAnally for giving us the opportunity.
“To have six wins out of 14 races in my rookie year is amazing, better than anything we ever expected.”
It marks the second straight series championship for BMR and a record seventh overall for the team that won titles in 1999, 2000, 2001, 2008, 2010, and 2015.
Gilliland will be among those honored at the NASCAR Night of Champions Touring Awards celebration at the NASCAR Hall of Fame at the Charlotte Convention Center on Dec. 10.
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