By Seth Eggert, NASCAR Writer
After a two week absence, Todd Gilliland is back behind the wheel for Kyle Busch Motorsports this weekend.
In Saturday’s Drivin’ for Linemen 200 at Gateway Motorsports Park, Gilliland will pilot the No. 51 Pedigree Toyota Tundra, the second of six races scheduled for the 17-year-old, third generation driver.
The last time Gilliland competed in the NASCAR Camping World Truck Series, he was turning heads in his debut. He ran has high as second in the No. 46 Pedigree Toyota Tundra for KBM before the right front wheel broke, ending his day just past half way, and relegating Gilliland to a 20th place finish.
When Gilliland is not competing in the NASCAR Camping World Truck Series, he is competing full-time in both the NASCAR K&N Pro Series East and the NASCAR K&N Pro Series West for Bill McAnally Racing. He won the West Series Championship in 2016 and leads the points seven races into the 2017 season. He is second in points after six races in the East Series.
In 22 career starts in the West Series, Gilliland has 11 victories, 18 top fives, 21 Top 10s, and 11 pole positions. Meanwhile in the East Series, he has 11 career starts with one victory, six top fives, 11 Top 10s, and one pole position.
Gilliland is also the youngest winner in ARCA Racing Series history, winning in his debut at Toledo Speedway just days after turning 15-years-old.
In 2016, Gilliland was voted the 2016 Rising Star of the Year on Racing Reference.
Gilliland was very excited about the prospect of competing at a new track in his second career start.
“I am super excited about driving the No. 51 PEDIGREE® Toyota Tundra at Gateway this weekend,” said Gilliland. “This will be my first time racing at the track, but we tested there and so I am feeling confident about my performance. It is a cool racetrack. Turns one and two are really tight and turns three and four are wide open, so it will be a challenge. But I think we will be able to get it done.”
He continued by explaining his better understanding of the Truck Series and a greater degree of confidence for this weekend.
“I definitely feel a lot more confident going into the weekend at Gateway,” he said. “I feel like I am a lot more familiar with all the formats, like practices and qualifying. I understand the way my truck works more now that I’ve gone through my first race at Dover. I’m really looking forward to working with the No. 51 team. They’ve been fast all season and I’m hoping I can continue that this weekend.”
Now Gilliland will continue to learn as he will look to impress at Gateway Motorsports Park.