Date: Feb. 23, 2019
Event: Ultimate Tailgating 200 (Race 2 of 23)
Series: NASCAR Gander Outdoors Truck Series
Location: Atlanta (Ga.) Motor Speedway (1.5-mile quad-oval)
Format: Three Segments; 40 laps/40 laps/50 laps
Start/Finish: 11th / 9th (running, completed 130 of 130 laps)
Winner: Kyle Busch of Kyle Busch Motorsports (Toyota)
Todd Gilliland persevered through a wet and cold evening at Atlanta Motor Speedway to earn his first top-10 finish at the 1.5-mile oval. With qualifying washed out, Gilliland started in the 11th position. Trouble with the handling and slow restarts had Gilliland riding near the top-15 for most of the evening, but on the final restart Gilliland was able to make his way to the ninth position and hold it for his first top-10 of 2019.
Stage One Recap:
- Gilliland started the Ultimate Tailgating 200 in the 11th position, as the field was set per the rule book after qualifying was canceled due to a heavy mist throughout the day.
- Gilliland told crew chief Marcus Richmond that he was unable to get his Toyota Tundra to the bottom of the racing surface because of a loose handling condition, but he was able to work his way into the top-10 during long green flag runs, finishing the stage in the 7th position.
- Following the first stage, Richmond brought Gilliland to pit road for four fresh tires, fuel and adjustments to address the handling condition.
Stage Two Recap:
- The start of the second stage saw Gilliland in the sixth position, but difficult handling conditions on restarts caused him to slowly fall out of the top-10 after a caution on lap 54.
- The young driver finished the second stage in 11th position, and Richmond called him to pit road for adjustments, four Goodyear tires and Sunoco fuel.
- Gilliland reported that his Tundra was tight on exit of the corner and loose over the seams in the pavement.
Stage Three Recap:
- As the final 50-lap stage began, Gilliland restarted in 10th, but once again had trouble with the restart and fell back to the 17th position.
- With 37 laps to go, the No. 4 Mobil 1 Tundra came to life and Gilliland began to march forward again.
- The caution flag flew with 18 to go and the No. 4 team again came to pit road for four fresh tires. A quick stop gained him five positions and Gilliland would restart in sixth.
- With the gain in position, Gilliland was able to avoid the wreck on the restart, which then brought out a red flag for cleanup and another for weather.
- Gilliland was able to hang on to a top-10 finish on the restart as conditions began to deteriorate and brought the No. 4 Mobil 1 Tundra home in ninth.
TODD GILLILAND, driver of the No. 4 Mobil 1 Tundra for Kyle Busch Motorsports:
What did you think about racing with your team owner, Kyle Busch, today?
“He flies by me, all of us, so fast I didn’t even see him. It’s frustrating because we’re all in the same truck, but he makes it look so easy. I don’t know. We’ll get there eventually I guess. I guess he’s pretty decent at this stuff. If nothing else, we can just learn from him and watch the race over and see what he did. Obviously there’s a big difference from where I was to where he was. Like I said, just try and get the gap smaller and smaller and hopefully be there one day.”
We just were horrible on restarts the whole time. I don’t know. We could never get going like our first five laps after a restart. We’d fall back to probably 20th every time. We were really fast after that, obviously, but we were way too far behind at that point. Just something – I don’t know I was so loose to start like five laps and then after that I’d be really good. I don’t know what we got going on. It’s just something to work on still. Our middle to end of the run speed was good, but in these truck races, restarts are so important so it doesn’t really count as much. That’s what it’s all about is putting a whole segment together and we didn’t quite do that tonight, but we’ll get there.”
Ultimate Tailgating 200 Recap:
- Kyle Busch won the race, followed by Johnny Sauter, Grant Enfinger, Brett Moffit and Ben Rhodes rounded out the top-five finishers.
- The race featured six cautions for 30 laps and 10 lead changes among eight drivers. Busch led 92 laps, and teammate Harrison Burton led one time for one lap.
How Gilliland’s KBM Teammates Fared:
Harrison Burton, driver of the No. 18 Toyota, finished 8th
Kyle Busch, driver of the No. 51 Toyota, finished 1st
NGOTS Championship Standings:
The No. 4 team completes the second race of the season with Gilliland ranked 11th in the Truck Series Driver Championship Standings, 37 points behind the leader.
Todd Gilliland and the No. 4 team will be back on track Friday, March 1 at Las Vegas Motor Speedway in Las Vegas, Nev. Live coverage of the Strat 200 begins at 9:00 p.m. EST on FS1.