The NASCAR K&N Pro Series West returns this weekend. The NAPA Auto Parts 150 will go green for the first time of the season on Saturday at Tucson Speedway.
It’s a stout lineup in the series this season. Returning to the series this season to defend his title from 2016 will be third generation driver Todd Gilliland. Gilliland, the son of former Monster Energy NASCAR Cup Series driver David Gilliland, will compete for his second straight title, but he’ll have a fair share of drivers trying to throw their hat into the ring as champion.
Ryan Partridge returns to the series this season. The driver from Rancho Cucamonga came the closest he ever came to winning the title, but with Gilliland in his way, had to settle for second. This season, the series veteran gains a new teammate in the form of Julia Landauer. The New York native made 14 starts in the series last season for Bill McAnally Racing. She gained seven top-5’s and 13 top-10’s, and this season, she will be seeking to beat her best career best finish of second that she obtained at Meridian Speedway last season. She was also able to finish fourth in the final standings last season to become the highest finishing female driver in K&N West history. Partridge will look to assist Landauer in her second season while also chasing his first championship in the series. This weekend, Partridge also seeks his second victory at Tuscon which would tie him with Ron Hornaday Jr.
Jefferson Pitts Racing will be fielding three cars this season with Will Rodgers, the former road racing specialist, piloting the No. 7 entry, Garret Archer in the No. 27 at Tucson and Vanessa Robinson in the No. 55. Robinson made two starts in the NASCAR K&N Pro Series West last season with her best finish coming at Douglas County where she finished 15th after starting 16th.
Nicole Behar joins Robinson and Landauer as women in the NASCAR K&N Pro Series West this season giving a strong representation for the ladies in the series. Behar will drive for her family-owned team again this season and will make her 21st start on Saturday. Along with that, she’s looking to get her first career victory after scoring a best finish of second at Irwindale Speedway in 2015.
Bill McAnally Racing returns with about the same lineup as 2016, and the addition of short-track standout Derek Kraus. Kraus made his debut with BMR in February in the NASCAR K&N Pro Series East race at New Smyrna where he finished third. Chris Eggleston, Riley Herbst, and the aforementioned Gilliland all return to the team this season where they will seek to gain Mr. McAnally another championship in the series.