Todd Gilliland ran his career-best NASCAR Camping World Truck Series (NCWTS) race at the “Magic Mile” to capture a third-place finish in his No. 51 PEDIGREE® Toyota Tundra. The UNOH 175 was only Gilliland’s fourth of six starts for Kyle Busch Motorsports (KBM) in the 2017 season.
Date: September 23, 2017
Event: UNOH 175 (Race 17 of 23)
Series: NASCAR Camping World Truck Series
Location: New Hampshire Motor Speedway in Loudon, N.H. (1.058-mile, oval)
Format: Three Stages; 55 laps/55 laps/65 laps
Start/Finish: Fifth/Third (Running, completed 155 of 155 laps)
Winner: Christopher Bell of Kyle Busch Motorsports (Toyota)
Stage One Recap:
- Gilliland started the day with a great qualifying effort, lining his No. 51 PEDIGREE® Tundra in the third position to take the green flag. He kept his position inside the top 10 for the duration of Stage One. Gilliland said his Tundra was loose in the corners and tight on exit, but handled the track well for the 55-lap stage. When the caution flag flew to end the stage he was in the eighth place.
Stage Two Recap:
- Stage Two started with a trip down pit road for a two-tire stop, but after a penalty Gilliland brought his Tundra back to the No. 51 Toyota Racing team for two more tires. When the race restarted, he was in the 15th position. Halfway through the stage, owner Kyle Busch joined in on his radio to help coach the rookie. Gilliland listened closely and cracked back into the top 10 on Lap 91. When the stage ended he was eighth.
Stage Three Recap:
- Gilliland brought his No. 51 PEDIGREE® Tundra in for a four-tire stop to start the last stage of the race. When he took the restart he was the first car with four fresh tires and moved up to the seventh position during the start. Gilliland then set out to pass more trucks and by Lap 122 he was battling for the third position with KBM teammate Christopher Bell. The 17-year-old took his time and was very careful for the rest of the stage. When the checkered flag waved, Gilliland brought home a third-place finish, his NCWTS career-best finish.
Todd Gilliland, driver of the No. 51 PEDIGREE® Tundra for Kyle Busch Motorsports:
Walk us through the race through your perspective.
“Losing all that track position here like Ryan (Truex) mentioned, it’s really hard to pass. I only passed probably two or three trucks when I got in the very back. That built my confidence a tiny bit, but then we were able to come down in the pits, get four tires for that last stage and be really aggressive on restarts. You had to – like Ryan (Truex) said too, just really try and get every spot you can because that’s pretty much your only chance here. I was driving it for everything I had at the end and we started to fall back a little bit. I could see the lead there that’s really tempting, but you know like I said just can’t Pedigree, Toyota, you know the guys that get us here.”
What does it mean to finally get a good run this season?
“It feels great. You know Kyle Busch Motorsports is giving me really fast race trucks every time I’ve been out. For one thing or another we just haven’t really got the finished that we wanted, so it definitely feels good to finish this one off. I had Kyle Busch on the radio telling me what he felt through his Cup car and everything and I feel like that really helped a lot. With all those little things that Kyle Busch Motorsports provides, you should be able to get the finishes that we got today and it’s definitely just a big confidence booster going into the next one. I think my next race is Martinsville so it’s going to be another short track that’s really fun.”
The UNOH 175 Recap:
- KBM’s Christopher Bell won the race followed by Ryan Truex, Todd Gilliland, Grant Enfinger and Stewart Friesen rounded out the top-five finishers.
- The race featured five cautions for a total of 24 laps. There were eight lead changes among five drivers.
How Gillilands’s KBM Teammates Fared:
- Noah Gragson, driver of the No. 18 Toyota, finished 15th
- Christopher Bell, driver of the No. 4 Toyota, finished first
NCWTS Owner Championship Standings:
- The No. 51 Toyota Racing team is now second in the Truck Series Owner Championship Standings.
The Truck Series returns to action next weekend on Saturday, September 30 at Las Vegas Motor Speedway. Live coverage of the race begins with the NCWTS Setup Show at 7:30 p.m. ET on Fox Sports 1.