Date: Oct. 26, 2019
Event: NASCAR Hall of Fame 200 (Race 21 of 23)
Series: NASCAR Gander Outdoors Truck Series
Location: Martinsville (Va.) Speedway (.526-mile oval)
Format: Three Segments; 50 laps/50 laps/100 laps
Start/Finish: 11th/1st (Running, completed 201 of 201 laps)
Winner: Todd Gilliland of Kyle Busch Motorsports (Toyota)
It was finally time for Todd Gilliland and the No. 4 Mobil 1 team to claim the victory in the NASCAR Gander Outdoors Truck Series. The talented teenager claimed the clock after a hard-fought battle at Martinsville Speedway. On Friday, Gilliland was fifth-fastest and top of the board in two practice sessions. In one round of single-truck qualifying on Saturday morning, Gilliland earned the 11th starting spot, while teammate Christian Eckes earned the pole.
Gilliland began his 46th Gander Trucks start in 11th, but soon fell back. The young driver persevered through a tight handling condition and damage suffered in an on-track incident to earn his first career win in the NASCAR Gander Outdoors Truck Series.
Stage One Recap:
- In one round of single-vehicle qualifying, Gilliland set a lap of 20.013 seconds and 94.618 mph, earning the 11th starting position.
- The young driver fell back, but remained in near the tail end of the top-10 to finish the stage.
- Gilliland reported that his Tundra was “plowing tight.”
- Crew chief Wes Ward opted to keep track position after the first stage instead of pitting, and they stayed out during the stage caution..
Stage Two Recap:
- Gilliland began the second stage in eighth, as several trucks in front of him visited pit road during the stage break.
- He continued to battle a tight handling condition, and Ward brought him to pit road under caution on lap 80 for four fresh Goodyear tires, Sunoco fuel and an adjustment.
- After restarting 16th with 12 laps to go in the stage, the Mobil 1 driver pushed forward and finished the stage in 12th.
Stage Three Recap
- After staying out during the stage break, Gilliland began the final stage in ninth.
- The young driver maintained the top-10 position until lap 124 when he was involved in an on track pileup that resulted in damage to the front end and right fender of the No. 4 Mobil 1 Tundra.
- Ward called him to pit road and the No. 4 team made repairs and bolted on four fresh tires.
- When the race restarted, Gilliland was 16th, but he quickly regained the top 10 and within 10 laps he was in sixth.
- After several more cautions, Ward reported that the battered truck was leaking water, so Gilliland did his best to cool the engine for the final 35 laps.
- With 10 laps to go, Gilliland took the lead and never looked back, despite a caution that triggered a green-white-checkered overtime finish. Gilliland earned his first career win in the NASCAR Gander Outdoors Truck Series in his 46th start.
Todd Gilliland, driver of the No. 4 Mobil 1 Tundra for Kyle Busch Motorsports:
How does it feel to finally get a win?
“It feels amazing. This place is really hard to win at. This Mobil 1 Toyota Tundra is not as pretty as we hoped it would be when we crossed the start-finish line, but man, it looks even better with water and Gatorade on it. Can’t thank JBL, Toyota, all the fans enough. Thank you guys for sitting around. I think that was a good finish. I don’t really know. Luckily we were out front.”
How much do you relish a moment like this knowing how hard it is to get a win?
“It means way more than it used to. Winning used to be a weekly deal. It just really makes me appreciate it more and more every single week that goes by that you don’t win. You know how hard you’re trying as well as everyone else. My whole team puts their blood, sweat and tears into this thing just as much as I do. That’s what frustrates you. You don’t really know what that next step is to get better. Once you put a whole race together, you kind of realize what goes on and attrition a little bit. Just pure speed is the other part of it. We were able to have a little bit of both.”
NASCAR Hall of Fame 200 Recap:
- Todd Gilliland won the race with Ross Chastain, Johnny Sauter, Grant Enfinger and Timmy Hill rounding out the top-five finishers.
- The race featured 12 cautions for 80 laps and eight lead changes among seven drivers.
How Gilliland’s KBM Teammates Fared:
Harrison Burton, driver of the No. 18 Toyota Tundra, finished 18th
Christian Eckes, driver of the No. 51 Toyota Tundra, finished 17th
NGOTS Championship Standings:
Gilliland rises to the 11th spot in the NASCAR Gander Outdoors Truck Series driver points standings after 21 races in the 2019 season.
Todd Gilliland and the No. 4 JBL team will return on Friday, Nov. 8 at ISM Raceway for the Lucas Oil 150. Live coverage of the event begins at 8 p.m. EST on FS1.