Toyota NCWTS Martinsville Burton, Gilliland, Gragson Quotes

by Official Release On Fri, Mar. 23, 2018

Toyota Racing – Harrison Burton, Todd Gilliland and Noah Gragson
NASCAR Camping World Truck Series (NCWTS)
Martinsville Speedway – March 23, 2018

Kyle Busch Motorsports drivers Harrison Burton, Todd Gilliland and Noah Gragson were made available to the media at Martinsville Speedway:

HARRISON BURTON, No. 51 DEX Imaging Toyota Tundra, Kyle Busch Motorsports
How much does all of your grassroots racing apply to here at Martinsville?
“I think racing short tracks all the time, it’s definitely a bit of an advantage I guess because you’re used to kind of the – short track racing is a different, it’s a whole ‘nother ball game. It’s a whole ‘nother level of intensity and a whole ‘nother kind of feeling behind it you know. You know you’re going to get hit. You know you’re going to have to hit someone at some point, so there’s going to be a different mindset and going into that, so being in the rhythm of that I think definitely helps and just having experience on short tracks racing guys like this. Noah’s on Snapchat. They’re normally hard to beat so I think that us having short track experience definitely helps.”

This year, you’ll run at more tracks that you haven’t run in the past after you turn 18 at the end of the season. Talk about this season and running those first-time tracks.
“That changes October, so I kind of get the last four races of the year at KBM, so I’m still kind of on a part time schedule, jumping around and in the races that I can be. There’s other guys in the mile and a halfs. It’s a balance, you know. In between I want to move up, but I got to learn too. I got time and I’m taking that time and learning as much as I can. I’ll make my first 1.5-mile starts in ARCA cars and stuff like that this year and I’ll also be running – I’ll run Texas and Homestead at the end of the year. Those will be fun in the Truck Series and hopefully we can go out and run good. It’s a different ball game. Like I said, short tracks, mile and a halfs, all that’s so different. It’s a big learning curve, but I’m ready for it.”

TODD GILLILAND, No. 4 Mobil 1 Toyota Tundra, Kyle Busch Motorsports
You run Martinsville and then after Kansas, you can run full-time the rest of the season. How does that feel?
“Last night I couldn’t sleep man. I was so excited. It was tough to go watch the first three races, but I think that’s something that we needed to do – spend more time with the team. Try and make up for as much time that we lost together. These guys that have been working together, so we just need to keep up that relationship. I think everything has been really smooth so far, but we’ll see. Luckily we have a lot of practice today and we can kind of move at our own pace this first week and then come tomorrow, it’s go time. Yeah, it’s been really tough though to watch someone else get in your truck for sure.”

How hard is it to get out of the truck and then get out of the truck and then back in?
“It was even hard from New Smyrna to now. I had to go all off season to build up to New Smyrna and then only race one race and then wait you know another month. It’s been hard like I said. Just spending a lot of time at the shop and a lot of time at the simulator just trying to make up for lost time kind of like I’m not missing anything at all. That’s what we’re hoping for. I wish I could keep racing, but soon enough we’ll be racing every week.”

What’s the dynamic like on a weekend like this when all three of you are friends off the track, but trying to win the race?
“I think that’s been something that’s very special, just growing up with everyone you know. Us three have raced against each other for a long time. Like you said, we’re all very competitive and we’ve raced – me and Harrison have raced hard. We’re just out here doing our best and I think it helps having teammates that you get along with. You can communicate information a little bit better, a little bit easier. I think everything is just going to flow together this season and I think we’re going to have some fast trucks.”

NOAH GRAGSON, No. 18 Safelite Toyota Tundra, Kyle Busch Motorsports
Talk about being back at Martinsville and what your approach is for the weekend.
“It’s a privilege to be able to come back here and race again. I was fortunate last year to be able to win the fall race here in the truck series. Ran pretty good here both times and finished fourth in this race last year, so just like I said very fortunate to get back here. Going to be working with my teammates Todd Gilliland and Harrison Burton this weekend. I feel like we’re probably the three best of buddies as teammates, so just being able to work with them and be on the same page is going to be key.”

How much confidence do you come back to Martinsville having already won here.
“I have a lot of confidence in myself, but I’m trying not to – I don’t know how to put it, but try not to rely on that. I’m trying to treat this weekend as if I’ve never been here before and that I’m going in here and I’m trying to learn all weekend and really focus on executing and knowing what I can do because I feel like if I come into this weekend and I say “Oh, well I won here before. I know how to do it,” that really doesn’t do me any good for a young driver. Maybe Jimmie Johnson or guys who have won here a lot of times, maybe they can do that, but I don’t feel like I can do that. Young driver just trying to learn as much as I can. I’m not putting any pressure on myself. I’m just trying to execute all weekend.”

Talk about starting the season with a more full schedule on the front end compared to years past?
“I think there’s two things – one for the whole series and then one for me. The first thing is for the series, I feel like it – we used to go from Daytona to Atlanta and then have four weeks off and I mean I only got to do it last year, so it wasn’t like it was a huge deal to me, but I wanted to be in the race car in those three or four off weeks, so it kind of shortened up that time in between the big breaks. I know we have a long break after this race. I’m racing a couple of other series. Also for me this year it’s a little bit different in 2018 because I’m living in North Carolina now in Huntersville and I can be with the team and I can manage my time a little bit better. It felt like longer last year because I was living in Las Vegas still doing high school, so that took up a little bit of my time. I couldn’t be with the team during the long break and couldn’t be learning this whole time, so 2018 it’s a lot better for me. I feel like I’m managing my time better living on the East Coast and being able to go to the shop and talk to my crew chief, Rudy (Fugle), and go to TRD (Toyota Racing Development) and do some sim and just practice and learn. I think that’s the biggest thing and I feel like it’s been not that long since we’ve been out on the track in Las Vegas.”

How important is it to win your second race to prove the first one wasn’t a fluke?
“I think it’ll be good. Hopefully that race win can come this weekend. I haven’t done it yet, so I can’t say that I’ve done it. I can’t say what it’s going to be like. Hopefully I can dominate a little more this weekend. I know there’s a lot of guys that are going to be gunning for each other out there on the race track. I mean it’s so close these days. You can’t get away from each other where before you might come here with a really good package and now you’ve got 10 guys that have a really good package and everything is so close. I know we should be in the hunt this weekend. Been working with Harrison (Burton) and Todd (Gilliland) throughout this past week on – just talking to each other about the line around this place and how we can – I mean we were all three in the top five last year at Martinsville, so just working together, working hard. Hopefully that’ll help my confidence getting my second career win this weekend.”

In 2018, you’ve led laps in every race. How important is that to continue as the season progresses?
“That’s really big. It shows that we have the speed. We just need to execute a little bit better. I felt like I made a driver mistake on my part at Daytona. Atlanta we capitalized on a mistake with our team and then just had a tire problem at Vegas that took me out of contention. We’ve been up front pretty much every race. We’ve won two stages this year. The first stage at Atlanta and the first stage at Vegas, so just got to keep on working hard. Keep on focusing on what needs to be done and hopefully it all works out.”

What’s the dynamic like on a weekend like this when all three of you are friends off the track, but trying to win the race?
“We all joke around, mess around off the track, but when it’s time to be serious and it’s time to get to crunch time and put our racing hats on, I think we all are like a light switch, we flip very easily. On the race track I think we all three want to be in a KBM (Kyle Busch Motorsports) top three finish, 1-2-3. If we all are 1-2-3, then we’re going to be battling hard. I think together, collectively, we all want the best for the organization of Kyle Busch Motorsports and we all know we have fast Toyota Tundras, so now it’s just working together until we get to the front and then it’s game on.”

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