Toyota Racing – Todd Gilliland
NASCAR Gander Outdoors Truck Series (NGOTS)
Pocono Raceway – July 26, 2019
Kyle Busch Motorsports driver Todd Gilliland was made available to the media in Pocono:
Todd Gilliland, No. 4 JBL Toyota Tundra, Kyle Busch Motorsports
What is your confidence here at Pocono Raceway?
“I’ve raced here a couple times now. Last year, and a lot of laps today. Turn two, or the tunnel turn, is tricky. I feel like that wall has my name on it every time I go through there. That is never a good feeling. In the ARCA car, it’s loose. Once I get down, the bumps at the bottom shoot the back end around. It’s a tough turn. It’s just enough that you have to get out of the gas and make a solid effort to get through there. If it was any straighter, I feel like you would be close to wide open and it would be a lot easier. This place is very tricky, and it has its name for a reason.”
Is it fun or is it stressful right now?
“It’s both. These are the moments that can make you a superstar and at the same time, you can just fly under the radar and do nothing. You just have to choose what you are trying to do. Obviously, we are trying to go out here and win. My crew chief, Wes Ward, talked about it this weekend. Nothing but a win is going to be acceptable from here-on-out, and that’s a fun way to go about it. You can be aggressive on pit strategy and all that stuff and put it all on the line.”
What should people watch for in the race?
“Hopefully the PJ1 coming in. I think you will see a little more side-by-side action, especially in the trucks. When you get right behind each other you just have no air. You just plow tight. I think you will see a lot of people up there, not on purpose, and realize, maybe the third time it happens, that there is a little more grip up there, I can make up a little more time. Hopefully, some more side-by-side racing, and another lane to pass.”
Talk about running here at Pocono Raceway.
“Pocono is a unique place. We go to a lot of places that are tough, but the tunnel turn makes it really hard. It’s almost more of a road course approach. You get through turn one good and you don’t want to screw up your lap, but you also don’t want to underdrive it and go slow. It’s more about the exit speed I think than the entry, which isn’t something I’m necessarily good at but I’m working on a lot. I think we have gotten it a lot better this weekend.”
How do you think the PJ1 will help or hurt the racing?
“It’s still pretty high up on the race track. I think you will see it more in the racing conditions. That stuff has a lot of grip. It will depend on how much they put down and what time of day, whether or not they reapply it. NASCAR does a really good job of trying to make the racing better and better. I think everyone has a better idea of what to expect when they hit it. It has a lot of grip, so in racing conditions I could see a lot people moving up there.”
You are the must win scenario to get into the playoffs. Which one of the remaining tracks gives you the best shot to score that win?
“I think any of them. Eldora, even. Someone’s got to win there, so it can be me. We were fast at Michigan, and we have a fast truck this weekend, it just doesn’t drive real good. My team is working really hard. Honestly, we thought this weekend, coming in here, Kyle Busch Motorsports has won the last four races here, so they have a pretty good track record. We are still trying to be that guy that brings it home this weekend. With a bunch of young teammates, it makes it hard, because you don’t really know what to go off of. We trust each other as much as we can, but we have to have our own feel and go forward with confidence.”
How closely have you worked with Wes Ward before this weekend?
“Him being the shop foreman over there, you always see him. It’s kind of like the first guy you talk to as a young kid walking in there. He has a lot of experience as a crew chief as well. He’s working really close with Rudy (Fugle), the crew chief on the no. 51 truck, and their stuff has been fast a lot this year. I think we are closer than ever to our teammates. If nothing else, I think that’s a plus.”