Toyota Racing – Todd Gilliland
NASCAR Gander Outdoors Truck Series (NGOTS)
Michigan International Speedway – August 9, 2019
Kyle Busch Motorsports driver Todd Gilliland was made available to the media in Michigan:
TODD GILLILAND, No. 4 JBL Toyota Tundra, Kyle Busch Motorsports
How are you mentally going into tomorrow’s race?
“Pretty much the same pressure as I have had all year. We show up to the racetrack every week to win. Along those lines, nothing has really changed. I feel like there is other people that maybe will be driving a little farther over their heads, probably me included at some points. It’s the last chance. That part is a little bit tough, but I feel like my team has brought better and faster equipment every week to the racetrack, and this is no different. I’m really excited to get out there.”
How would you sum up the first 15 races? Why are you in the position that you are in right now?
“That’s the main thing. Why does it come down to this one race? It shouldn’t. We’ve had a lot of opportunities. I think just a lot of up and downs. Communication problems. I feel like we’ve run a lot better after we’ve made some changes with the crew chief. It’s made me think about it. Marcus (Richmond) is still working at KBM (Kyle Busch Motorsports). I still talk to him, probably now more than we did before. We communicate better now. I feel like after that switch, it made everyone a little better. We just pushed ourselves to the next level. I think since then we’ve been more competitive. To get to that next level that we are competing week in and week out for a win like we should be, I don’t really know. I think when you get there, you will realize what it took and how to stay there. But it’s just about getting there that first time.”
Top-five here a year ago. What is the big takeaway that you can bring to this race?
“You learn a lot here. People say it’s going to be wide open, but once you get into the race, it’s a lot more technical than that. It’s about timing your runs. I would get up beside people on exit and then you don’t go anywhere, just the people behind you catch you and blow by you. I think it’s all about the places you pass, the times you slow down and the times you don’t. Sometimes it’s a little smarter at a certain point to slow down and stay in line. I think I could have done a better job of that last year instead of getting on the bottom and just losing a ton of spots. Overall, just a lot of experience coming back here to Michigan. We ran really good, led some laps, and I think we can contend this weekend.”
They have laid the traction compound down this weekend. What are your thoughts on that?
“It’s pretty far up the racetrack. I don’t know if the trucks, or even the Cup cars, will get up there. Last year, in the race, if you got right behind someone, you’d slide up there anyway. I feel like in the Truck race you will see someone slip up and get up there on accident. Who knows? Maybe just enough people do that it will get enough heat in it and that stuffs always got more grip. It’s more dominate in the race than you think it will be. We will have to see.”
Does this year make a good case for expanding the Truck Series playoff field?
“I don’t know. It’s kind of weird to see only two guys are in on points. I think Grant Enfinger is the regular season champion, so he’d get in anyway and then just (Matt) Crafton. That’s kind of crazy to think about. I think the Truck fields are tough competition. Even Austin Hill, who won earlier this year, has had some bad luck. He’s been out front but he still only has that one win from early on in the season. Like you said, it’s tough. But at the same time if you could be one of those eight, its less people to get out. It can go both ways.”