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DOVER, Del. - NASCAR Next drivers Todd Gilliland and Harrison Burton will face off for the 2017 NASCAR K&N Pro Series East championship at Dover International Speedway on Friday, September 29 – the final showdown of the season.
Gilliland enters the National Fallen Firefighters Foundation 125 presented by Carl Deputy & Son Builders with an eight-point advantage over Burton. The 17-year-old, Sherrills Ford, North Carolina, native has all the confidence he needs as he looks to seal the deal and win his first K&N Pro Series East championship.
“It’s been a battle for the points lead and it’s nice to add a few points to that,” Gilliland said after a runner-up finish in the most recent race at New Jersey Motorsports Park. “I’m really confident about our Dover package. I was lucky enough to run the NASCAR Camping World Truck Series race earlier this year and get some laps there. It’s going to be a huge race for us but I have confidence in everyone on our team.”
Both Gilliland and Burton competed in the NASCAR Camping World Truck Series race at Dover back in June. Burton, 16, finished 13th while Gilliland finished 20th. That run, along with his motivation, gives the Huntersville, North Carolina, driver assurance that he can still win the championship on Friday.
“It hasn't slipped away yet,” Burton proclaimed. “We’ve got one more race to run, we’ve got one more race to win. That’s the thing about this team is we never give up no matter what the circumstances. I’m going to prepare as best I can and hopefully have a fast racecar. If we can do that, we can do anything. I’m telling you, we are not out of this by any stretch of the imagination.”
Burton is also leaning on his father, Jeff Burton for advice. Burton, who is currently an analyst for NBC Sports NASCAR coverage, won a Monster Energy NASCAR Cup Series race at the Monster Mile back in 2006.
“You would be ignorant not to listen to a guy like my dad,” Burton explained. “He’s really smart about the sport and I feel like he was one of the better drivers out there. Especially at Dover, I feel like he was one of those guys who could go to Dover and kick butt. I’ve got to learn as much as I can from him, but I’ve got to learn from my past experiences too and use those in the future.”
Todd Gilliland assumed the points lead when he picked up a victory at Virginia's Langley Speedway back on September 4th. He extended his points lead at New Jersey by finishing second, one spot ahead of Burton.
Friday’s National Fallen Firefighters Foundation 125 presented by Carl Deputy & Son Builders, which will determine the championship, will get underway at 5 p.m. ET. Practice will be held at 8 a.m. ET and qualifying at 1 p.m. ET.