Toyota NCWTS Charlotte – Gragson and Gilliland Quotes

by Official Release On Fri, May. 18, 2018

Toyota Racing – Todd Gilliland and Noah Gragson
NASCAR Camping World Truck Series (NCWTS)
Charlotte Motor Speedway – May 18, 2018

Kyle Busch Motorsports drivers Todd Gilliland and Noah Gragson were made available to the media at Charlotte Motor Speedway:

TODD GILLILAND, No. 4 Pedigree Toyota Tundra, Kyle Busch Motorsports

What’s your mindset coming into Charlotte now that you’re able to run at all tracks?
“It just really adds a lot of confidence to me and also my team. We can start getting into a groove really, being really consistent. Also, really tough at the beginning of the with my crew chief, Marcus Richmond, getting suspended for three races, so it’s just nice to kind have all the puzzle pieces together. We just need to get working as a team, build that bond and just keep bringing fast trucks every week.”

Has it been hard waiting to go full time and have you been trying to stay as involved as you can with the team leading up to being able to run full-time?
“So I’ve still been going to every race that I can’t race in and like you said, just trying to decrease that learning curve as much as possible now that it is my turn. Any time you can watch a guy like Kyle Busch get in your truck and listen on the radio, hear how he breaks down every corner, every corner of the truck through the whole race track is crazy. Just anything that you can pick up is going to help and basically our season starts from now and we just got to be all on the same page is the biggest thing that we’ve been working on from the beginning.

Walk us through your first laps on a track of this size.
“Any time you get to a race track for the first time like this, it’s pretty intimidating. Just being able to come out here for probably almost 10 years now, just watching races and dreaming of one day being out here. You watch the Truck Series and also Kyle Busch Motorsports, and there’s no better position that I hope to be in than in this No. 4 truck with them. It was just all about learning like I said and just trying to get up to speed as quickly as possible. I had the opportunity to actually come out here and test an ARCA car last weekend. Just every single lap counts, a lot. I feel like I’m getting more experience every lap. I actually got out behind Noah (Gragson) a little bit and was able to kind of position my truck where I could get the best draft down the straightaway. All those little things like that that I’m going to have to learn and use for many years to come that these guys got a little head start on me, but we just need to come back strong.”

What did you earn in the ARCA test that you can apply here in the Truck?
“The whole test was very special with the ARCA Series. Like you mentioned, it’s been quite a number of years since they’ve been here. Just to see all the rookie drivers go out there and gain confidence every lap. They only let four cars on the race track at a time, so you know everyone was kind of spread apart. We didn’t get much time together, but I’m sure when we come back next week for the race, it’ll be an all-out practice. But yeah, the main part, we were just coming out here to get as many laps as possible. Actually once we got in the truck, that has so much more downforce and side force that it felt a lot better, but actually we were a little bit faster in the ARCA cars, so it was kind of cool to feel all of the differences.”

NOAH GRAGSON, No. 18 Safelite AutoGlass Toyota Tundra, Kyle Busch Motorsports

How do you build on your first win of the season last week?
“It’s good confidence just for myself and my team. I felt like I was a championship-caliber driver this year. Coming from last year, I learned a whole lot of dos and don’ts on the race track and off the race track. Just learned more and going back to these tracks for the second time, I felt like I was going to be in the Playoffs, no matter what in the Top Eight. I wasn’t going to let myself not be in the Playoffs and working with Rudy Fugle (crew chief) and the rest of the team, it’s been really good so far. I’ve learned a ton these first couple races. I don’t know – five or six races in and it’s been good so far. We got the win this past weekend in Kansas, so just had a ton of speed every single weekend when we’ve unloaded off the truck in our Safelite AutoGlass Toyota Tundra and we have a lot of speed today, so just having that confidence in myself as a driver is the biggest thing and when I get to the race track knowing that we’re going to be fast is big.”

What do you enjoy eating and drinking for breakfast?
“I cook cereal in the morning. Pretty good at getting the Fruity Pebbles out and the milk, so I eat that. Every now and then I try eggs, but it’s just a mess. It’s more of a hassle than it is good. Mainly on race days, just hydrating and getting liquids in – starting your day or your week and making sure you’re getting your electrolytes and your clear fluids in is the biggest thing. I probably don’t have the healthiest diet out there. I started working out, so hopefully that helps my figure a little bit better. I don’t try to watch like my calorie intake. I’m not like on a set diet. I pretty much eat some good foods. Try and eat some chicken sometimes, but also eat some junk food too.”

Do you have any Achilles Heels in 2018 after rebounding in Dover to Kansas?
“I think I’m my own Achilles Heel. What I mean by that is just I need to be perfect this whole year and perfect behind the wheel. What I mean by that is not making mistakes. I feel like last year I was learning the 1.5-mile racing and yeah, we got the win last weekend at Kansas, but I still feel like that’s kind of my weakest point is 1.5-mile racing just because the aero is so situational and it changes your balance for every situation you’re in. You might behind a guy and you might be plowing tight and then the next lap you might be next to him and you might be extremely loose. It’s just very very difficult to get a gauge on that, but I feel like I’m getting a lot more comfortable with it and going back to the other thing, is just not getting into my own head, staying focused and I feel like working with Rudy Fugle (crew chief) and my spotter, Tony Hirschman, they keep me really disciplined and on track, on and off the race track. They just keep my focused and disciplined and so I think that’s going to be the biggest thing is to keep me focused and not be making mistakes this year.”

How do you stay aggressive but limit your mistakes?
“I don’t know if it’s a theory or what not, but I want to run up front and if I’m up front, battling for the win – for example, Dover. I personally was down on myself and disappointed in myself that I made that mistake, but at the same time I’m all right with myself personally because I made that mistake just because it’s such a fine line of racing for the wins here. If I make a mistake and I wreck like that racing for 12th, then we got a real problem, but we’re going for the win with a lap and a half at Dover. It’s a sweet trophy that doesn’t make me try and harder, the trophy, but you always kind of have that in the back of your mind that it’s a really cool trophy. I’ve always looked up to get that trophy in the past. That doesn’t make me try any harder, but just not making mistakes, dumb mistakes, trying to do that for 12th. I’m alright with doing that for the win just because – I mean these races are so hard to win and there’s very limited opportunity you have as a race car driver and I’m in a very good spot at Kyle Busch Motorsports and I have a great team and great teammates. It’s a very good organization, so getting those wins is very difficult and there’s a lot of perks that come with it. It’s a fine line. You might cross over it every once in a while, but like I said, I’m fine with doing that if it’s racing for the win. We’re giving it all that we’ve got out there.”

How much do you think the Xfinity Series races accelerated your confidence or your learning curve and when you first ran them, was it intimidating?
“I was surprised with my performance at Richmond to be quite honest. It caught me off guard. I knew I was stepping up to the plate. Going back to 2016 racing in the K&N Series, I won a couple of races and moved up into the Truck Series the last two races of the year before 2017 – raced Phoenix and Homestead and I thought I was going to run really good out there in Phoenix with the truck with Kyle Busch Motorsports and I ran terrible. We ran 15th at Phoenix and Homestead. I made sure to tell myself stay focused on what you need to do when you’re making this move up into the Xfinity Series. It’s going to be tough and I thought it was going to be a rude awakening, which it was, but I was able to adapt to those cars. I don’t know, I thought it was going to be a lot tougher. The cars they have a lot less side force and down force, so you’re always kind of driving off the right rear, really loose, always yawed out sideways. I don’t know. I picked it up. It felt pretty natural to me, but then going back to the truck at Dover – I ran both there that weekend, and so going back to the truck, I felt a lot more confidence just because it has a lot more side force, it has a lot more down force. The truck didn’t change, but I think just my mindset changed on ‘hey, if I can drive the Xfinity car sideways, this is a breeze because it’s pretty stuck in the race track.’ Getting back into the truck, I think it definitely helped my confidence. I mean I learned so much at Joe Gibbs Racing with the Xfinity guys that has translated over to the NASCAR Camping World Truck Series.”

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