When you see two trucks on track sporting the name "Gilliland" on the back window, you won’t be imagining things. For the first time, veteran driver David Gilliland and his Sunoco Rookie of the Year-contending son Toddwill face off against each other in a NASCAR national series race.
Todd will finally be able to start his 2018 campaign behind the wheel of the No. 4 Toyota for Kyle Busch Motorsports when the NASCAR Camping World Truck Series heads to Martinsville this Saturday (2 p.m. ET on FS1, MRN and SiriusXM NASCAR Radio).
He isn’t eligible to compete on intermediate tracks or superspeedways until he reaches his 18th birthday in May. So, until now, in 2018 Todd’s had to sit on the sidelines and watch a cast of substitute drivers pilot his truck.
His dad drove it in the season-opener at Daytona before his truck owner, Kyle Busch, took over for Atlanta and Spencer Davis drove it in Las Vegas.
It hasn’t been easy for Todd to sit back and watch other drivers pilot his truck. "It's been very hard. I'm a racer and all I want to do is race. Seeing other people jump in the truck you are going to be in the rest of the year is really tough, but you have to take every opportunity you have to learn and catch up to the guys who already have three more races worth of experience than I do."
Todd competed in six Camping World Truck Series races in 2017, posting a pair of top fives and three top 10s. He had a best finish of third at New Hampshire and crossed the line fifth at Martinsville in the fall.
David is racing the No. 54 Toyota for DGR-CROSLEY Racing – a team that was formed when David Gilliland Racing and CROSLEY Sports Group joined forces for the 2018 season. The organization, which fields late model, NASCAR K&N Pro Series, ARCA and Camping World Truck Series entries, is co-owned by David and Bo LeMastus.
David has 11 series starts under his belt and won the pole this season at Daytona while driving his son’s No. 4 KBM entry. He’s taken the green flag 333 times in the Monster Energy NASCAR Cup Series, including in the 2018 Daytona 500. He has a trio of poles (all on superspeedways), four top-five and eight top-10 finishes in NASCAR’s premier series.
How hard has it been watching other people drive your truck for the first three races?
"It's been very hard. I'm a racer and all I want to do is race. Seeing other people jump in the truck you are going to be in the rest of the year is really tough, but you have to take every opportunity you have to learn and catch up to the guys who already have three more races worth of experience than I do."
What did you learn from being at the races and listening to feedback on the team radio?
"Anytime you can listen to someone on the radio and especially a Cup champion like Kyle Busch, is always a great honor. Just the way that he can break down every corner of the race car and what needs to be fixed the most and what can wait. I think that's all stuff you can learn from and what is going to take you to the next level."
You finished fifth at Martinsville last fall. What is the key to winning there?
"I think it's going to be tough. The race is all about restarts and track position, so having a fast truck and being able to qualify up front and hopefully controlling the race. Last year in the fall, we were kind of just in the middle of the pack and were able to capitalize and make our Tundra a lot better to keep track position. I'd like to be able to control the race a little bit better this time."
Source: NASCAR PR