Toyota Racing – Todd Gilliland
NASCAR Gander Outdoors Truck Series (NGOTS)
Texas Motor Speedway – March 29, 2019
Kyle Busch Motorsports driver Todd Gilliland was made available to the media in Texas:
TODD GILLILAND, No. 4 JBL/SiriusXM Toyota Tundra, Kyle Busch Motorsports
Are you excited for tonight’s race or does it still sting from last November?
“I’m excited. I love this track. We ran really good here both times last year. We haven’t been where we want to be today or yesterday, but we changed a ton overnight. Obviously, we have really good notes, really great teammates and we were decent yesterday. We’ll see. I think that’s one thing I feel confident about is I can remember the fee I needed last year. Yesterday we probably could have been a seventh or eighth place truck but that’s not what we want. Our whole team is looking for better than that so I’m really proud of everyone for taking that step and kind of going out on the edge, changing everything and hoping for a better result than we had before.”
What is it about this track that you like?
“I think the speed is a lot of fun. You can draft up to people and it’s a little bit of technique side-drafting. I don’t really know – I feel like I’ve just ran good here. Kind of been fast since we started. I think the two corners are different, a lot of fun. You’re wide open through (turns) 3 and 4 and (turns) 1 and 2 you almost have to finesse it a little bit. It’s still really fast and a lot of on-throttle time. I think just the flatness of (turns) one and two is a big part of it.”
How long did it take you to get over the loss here last fall?
“Not too long. I feel like I always take a lot of positives out of stuff. Sometimes that’s a good thing, sometimes that’s a bad thing. I try and get rid of the negative stuff so fast I don’t have time to work on it or I don’t even give myself the opportunity to. I think for a while I put it right behind me, but over the off-season it kind of came back and we were looking at everything. Even yesterday my crew chief, Marcus Richmond, brought that up because that weekend we felt really good about my truck and then in qualifying I wrecked. There’s good and bads. It’s kind of how we unloaded here yesterday but we said there’s obviously something that could have been better. You should never be on the edge of wrecking to get the pole. It should be easier than that. I think we’re all on the same page at the right time.”
Do you feel the pressure from your team owner Kyle Busch?
“I think there’s always pressure in genera being at Kyle Busch Motorsports. Obviously, they’re one of the best teams and most successful truck teams in this era. Just to be with them is obviously a great privilege, but at the same time there is pressure and not performing how I want to, it’s been wearing me down. Like I said we just have to take control. It’s my team, this is my year to make it happen and it’s go time.”
What’s your confidence level at this point in the season?
“I feel like it could be high. I feel like it’s about a lot of the attitude of my team and just how the weekend goes up to that point. If we start the race and we’re kind of not doing too good then I feel like I let my confidence go up and down too much with stuff like that. I feel like with the success we’ve had in the past I need to be more confident and more of a leader. When every else’s confidence is down, it’s my time to be up and really just lift everyone back up.”
What can Greg Biffle bring to Kyle Busch Motorsports when he races at Texas in June?
“I think it’s a really great opportunity. He’s (Greg Biffle) been out of the race car for a long time so he’s kind of in the learning stages again. He’s really interested, and he’s been at the shop a lot. It’s really cool. He’s kind of got a mix of that Kyle Busch knowledge with a little bit of the want to learn like me and Harrison (Burton). We’ve been actually talking to him a lot. He’s really easy to talk to. He’s been telling us a lot of cool stories. He’s been racing these things since they were a foot off the ground in every straightaway. Time just changes a little bit. I’m sure it’s a little bit different for him, but it’s a lot of fun to see all of the cool people that we get to race with and against week in and week out at Kyle Busch Motorsports.”
Is racing with Greg Biffle like racing with your dad with all of the experience they have?
“Yeah, for sure. My dad (David Gilliland) had got a little bit more experience in almost the new era of Trucks. Greg Biffle was telling us last time he drove one was like 19 years ago. Things have changed since then. Obviously, he’s with an amazing team just like us at Kyle Busch Motorports. It will be cool to race with him and hopefully not let him win from the pole again in June.”
How do you feel about going into Turn 1 here at Texas and what did you learn yesterday in practice?
“I know it’s definitely got a lot of grip. I almost passed a few people on the outside of turn 1, which last year it would’ve been completely off limits. I think that’s going to be good. I think we’re definitely going to be paying a lot of attention today to what happens in Xfinity and Cup practice. I don’t know that they’ll get up there too much, but I feel like the Truck Series race is going to be really good. I don’t know if once we get up there we’ll be really fast and it will be hard to pass or if it will maintain the two lane racing. I’m really hoping that’s what it will be. People running on the bottom that are really good and giving you an option to move up if you have some handling issues.”
Is it more difficult to compete against Kyle Busch compared to others with him being your team owner?
“I feel like it’s a good thing. I think sometimes team owners don’t realize or know what it takes to have a winning team. I think Kyle (Busch) is leading us in all good directions that we can use throughout the whole rest of the year. I think that’s the biggest thing is he’s just trying to get us pointed in the right direction and when his five races are up then we’ll be on our own and do it ourselves. He definitely knows what it takes to have a winning race team and there’s nothing more you can ask for in a team owner than that. He (Kyle Busch) makes it look so easy. That’s something one day I’ll understand, but right now it’s pretty difficult to understand how he drivers around all of us. It’s definitely a lot of fun to hear him talk between practices and just how he describes everything he goes so in depth. He could basically crew chief anything out here I’m pretty sure and have a winning setup. I think it’s a really cool dynamic to try and learn from him and at the same time he’s got the knowledge and driving ability.”
How do you plan to race tonight?
“We’re going to go win this thing. Obviously, I think you’ve got to be smart at the same time. I’ve obviously made a lot of mistakes about that trying to get too much out of my truck at not the right time. I feel like I’ve got smarter about that and still having a little bit extra to push at the end. It seems like I always go 100 percent the whole race and then the good guys turn it up to 110 percent and drive right around you. It’s different intensity levels.”