IRWINDALE, Calif. — Trevor Huddleston kicked the door down to victory lane Saturday at Irwindale Speedway after besting Tanner Gray in a photo finish to win the NASCAR K&N Pro Series West ENEOS NAPA Auto 150.
Huddleston battled a hit-or-miss transmission for the final 100 laps, forcing him to drive for most of the race with one hand on the steering wheel and one hand on the shifter.
Huddleston and Gray banged doors off turn four coming to the start/finish line and the Augora Hills, Calif., native was able to inch his No. 9 Sunrise Ford ahead of Gray’s No. 15 DGR-Crosley Toyota. After claiming the checkered flag, Huddleston hit the wall in turn one and was unable to drive his machine back to victory lane.
“I’m still in shock,” said Huddleston, a three-time late model track champion at Irwindale. “That was absolutely insane. Me and him were bouncing off each other, we were bouncing off the wall, I mean I didn’t know if we won. I hit the wall and got the freakin’ wind knocked out of me and I was like ‘did we win?’ and we won. Unbelievable.”
“We’ve been preparing for this moment for a long time,” said Huddleston, whose father Tim promotes the historic California race track. “I know this track hopefully better than anybody. I’ve been raised here. To get this win means so much. To win in the K&N Pro Series is unbelievable. It’s got a stacked field. And to win like that, even better.”
In only his second series start, Gray almost put it in victory lane. The reigning NHRA Pro Stock champion knew immediately he didn’t beat the No. 9 to the line, but did all he could leading up to that.
“It was just really good racing between me, the No. 9 and the No. 16 (Derek Kraus),” Gray said. “This race track produces really good racing, Them putting PJ1 down on the bottom really helped. That was a lot of run. I feel like I was the only one who was really able to get down there and be as fast as I was. The deal we had coming to the line was unfortunate, but it was just both drivers coming using up all the race track trying to get there first. It wasn’t intentional […] it’s racing.”
Kraus came home third after leading a handful of laps, but he lost brakes with around 30 laps to go, allowing Huddleston and Gray to get by. Jagger Jones and polesitter Hailie Deegan rounded out the top five finishers.
Trevor Huddleston, Tanner Gray, Derek Kraus, Jagger Jones, Hailie Deegan, Cole Cabrera, Matt Levin, Brittney Zamora, Dylan Garner, Jack Wood, Todd Souza, Armani Williams, Travis Milburn, Austin Thorn, Bill Kann, Joey Tanner, Nick Joanides, Kody Vanderwal, Takuma Koga, Ron Jay, Rich DeLong III.