Todd Gilliland picked up another NASCAR K&N Pro Series East victory Monday night and something even more important – the series points lead.
Gilliland, 17, made a late race pass on Dillon Bassett and set sail, cruising to his fourth East win of the season in Monday’s Visit Hampton Virginia 150 at Langley (Va.) Speedway.
The win allowed Gilliland to turn a four-point deficit into a six-point advantage in the series standings over Harrison Burton two races remaining in the season.
“This is a crucial part of the season overall,” Gilliland said. “With there only being 14 races, all of them are very important. This one is huge for us, taking the (points) lead.
“We had some bad luck to start the year off but, man, we’ve come on strong in these summer months. We’ve just got two more races to go get it.”
Gilliland, who is running the full schedules in the East and West divisions, is the first driver to lead both divisions at the same time. He has led the K&N West standings since the second race of the year, and holds a five-point advantage as the defending champion in that division.
Burton, 16, finished seventh in the race and said he was just looking ahead to the road course at New Jersey Motorsports Park.
“It was a tough race for us. We didn’t have the handle on the car all week,” he said. “We’ve got to win the next two, that’s what we have to do. It’s something we’re really capable of.
“We’ve got to go to the road course and win and I know I’m capable of it. I believe in my team and we’re going to have a great car. Then we’ve got to go to Dover and take care of business there.”
Canadian driver Dominique Van Wieringen started 12th but rallied for a third-place finish. Ronnie Bassett Jr. finished in fourth and Collin Cabre fifth.