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NASCAR: April 2018 Interview with Todd Gilliland

Todd Gilliland is one of the upcoming racers that NASCAR fans will be keeping an eye on in the next few years.

He’s currently racing for Kyle Busch Motorsports in the NASCAR Camping World Truck Series where he will compete in 19 of the 22 races this season.

That’s because he hasn’t yet turned 18 under the age rule limit, but you will see a lot of Todd Gilliland out on track from Charlotte Motor Speedway when he turns 18 mid next month.

In an exclusive interview with The Overseas Charlottean, I sit down with Todd Gilliland on what’s it like to still be in the running for the Truck Series Championship, his Championship winning season in the Pro Series West Division and the races he will compete in the next few weeks.

Questions and Answers

1. According to Racing Reference, you did complete all 250 laps on your first Truck Series start of 2018 as well as led a single lap ahead of anyone out on the race track and an average start of 23 & finish of 14.

How did you evaluate the positives that helped you finish in P14 and the negatives where you’ve could’ve done a lot better in the No.4 Toyota Tundra?

We did a good job executing the race within the Top 5 all day and coming towards the end; we just got moved around in which is not we’re hoping.

It’s all about running up front and at some point there’s going to be opportunities taken out.

So all we have to do is keep staying towards the front row, and we will get to where we wanted sooner rather than later.

2. How was it like when you missed a lot of racing including the offseason under your belt before your first race at Martinsville two weeks ago?

It’s tough for me where it’s never fun to see someone else drive so I want to be in the car in every race as much as I can.

3. Did you wish that you could’ve sought to race across another racing series on a part-time basis such as IMSA sports cars/ARCA/sprint cars or you’re happy to stick with stock cars regarding more experience behind the wheel?

I’m happy with what I’ve got right now.

Maybe in the future, I am open to part-time offers in racing a different racing series.

But for the time being, it’s all about staying focus on what we’re doing & giving my best shot 100% in the NASCAR Camping World Truck Series.

4. You’re only going to miss Kansas which is another 1.5-mile track before you’re able to complete the Truck Series full-time from Charlotte mid next month.

Why or why not do you feel that young drivers before the age gap of 18 can race at 1.5 mile plus tracks because of NASCAR officials wanting to be protective of the youth racers risking their lives upon wrecks with experience drivers or it’s unfair regarding showcasing young talent that age isn’t only a number?

It’s just one of the NASCAR rules that you can only run on one-mile limit tracks under the age of 18 which I’ve done for a while.

It’s not about how I can do it at every track.

But like I said we only have to wait not long now until Charlotte next month and then I can compete the rest of the season.

5. Have you yet evaluated how racing at 1.5 mile plus tracks feel like compared to the short/1 mile tracks you’ve raced in the past or you’re just going to wait and see once you’re eligible to run from Charlotte?

I’m not sure what to expect, but I think it’s going to be a lot of fun racing faster at 1.5 mile plus tracks.

There are a few things to work on, but you expect some variation of short/one mile & 1.5-mile superspeedway tracks, so I am looking forward to race at all tracks this season.

6. Reflecting on your year in both the NASCAR Pro K&N Series West and East Divisions, how did you manage to travel in all of the races across two series & although you came up as runner-up in the East but as a reigning champion in the West Division.

Why or why you could’ve done better if you did win both the Pro Series West and East Division Championships or only happy to take out the one trophy on the West Coast?

Our team and I did a great job bringing a fast race car every race last year in the West Division.

In the East Division, It’s tough to reflect especially during the last race at Dover where we had a tire issue which robbed our Championship hunt.

But we’re in a position a lot to win more races than we did before in previous years, so we’re proud of that to take out the West Division title.

7. Since you’ve hopped onboard with Kyle Busch Motorsports full-time, how was it like working with Noah Gragson?

You never know what’s it like to work with Noah Gragson on and off the race track.

But it’s going to be a lot of fun, and I’m looking forward to working with him more.

We’re just trying to help each other the best we can & hopefully we can finish up front together.

8. In out of any family member, which person has inspired you to be the best race car driver you can be?

My Dad, David Gilliland has so much experience & has invested most of my racing career.

He works every day at the shop fixing my cars & I think it helps a ton where he helps the crew chief a lot than people you know.

That’s why my dad played a huge part of my back to back championships in the West Division lately.

9. I remember back in 2015 when your boss Kyle Busch suffered an unfortunate injury at Daytona that saw him missed 11 events before he quickly settled back with a couple of wins, made to the Playoffs & later won the Cup Series Championship that year.

Despite missing only four races, do you still see yourself as a genuine championship contender in winning the NASCAR Camping World Truck Series Title in 2018?

I think that we can be championship contenders and we need to stay out in front.

For example, if you’re up in the top 5 at the end of the race, you need to be wary of certain situations such as green-white-checkers & last minute pit stalls.

That’s something we need to keep an eye on the top of our hands.

We also have to capitalize those days when we have a dominant race car where we plan to start from 8th, but you expect to reach your goal of P5 at the end of the race.

So we’re working hard day in, day out in preparing my full season at Truck Series level.

 

10. If fans want to keep in touch with you on social media, do you have any account handles for them to follow?

Thank you, Todd Gilliland, for your time.

Also, credit to Chris Janosko for negotiating the time to arrange the interview on his behalf with Todd Gilliland.

Image and Statistics: Racing Reference.

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