As we noted in our last newsletter, just because you’re a hall of famer doesn’t mean you have to quit doing something you enjoy – and doing it well, we might add. Two West Coast Stock Car Hall of Fame members, Bill McAnally and Gary Nelson, turned in several more championship performances in 2016.
McAnally’s NASCAR K&N Pro Series West team captured driver and owner titles. Nelson, team manager for Action Express Racing, guided his drivers to a pair of IMSA WeatherTech SportsCar championships.
BMR’s Todd Gilliland became the youngest champion in the history of the NASCAR K&N Pro Series West at 16 years and five months, establishing a NASCAR record as the youngest champion any NASCAR national or touring series. He also earned rookie of the year honors.
Gilliland won six times to break Lance Hooper’s record (four) for most wins by a rookie in a season.
BMR’s seventh series championship is a record for a car owner in a NASCAR Touring series. The team won eight of 14 races; the stable’s four drivers finished one-four-six and seven in the championship standings with three series rookies. McAnally’s first-year drivers included Julia Landauer, who finished fourth in the championship standings – highest by a female driver in NASCAR K&N Pro Series East or West divisions.
Nelson’s charges continued their domination of IMSA’s prototype category. Dane Cameron and Eric Curran, who shared the stable’s No. 31 Corvette DP, won the driver title. Joao Barbosa and Christian Fittipaldi shared the Tequila Patron North American Endurance Cup title in the No. 5 Corvette DP.
Action Express won both championships for the third consecutive season.
Don’t be surprised if we’re writing more about both hall of famers in 2017. While McAnally’s lineup has yet to be set, Nelson will stay with what brought him to the dance.
“Our style is to make as few changes as possible within our race team, and that starts with the drivers,” Nelson said in announcing all four of his wheelmen will return. “Obviously, as we look to next year, that’s exactly what we’re doing.”