Confidence boost for Gilliland after New Hampshire

Nigel Kinrade/NKPPhoto

By Caleb Whisler, Staff Writer

In just his fourth start of 2017, Todd Gilliland was able to finish in the third position in the UNOH 175 from New Hampshire Motor Speedway. This was Gilliland’s best finish in his four starts with Kyle Busch Motorsports this season.

The biggest challenge in the race for Gilliland was losing track position and trying to gain it back throughout the race. Gilliland was busted on pit road on Lap 58 for running over/under equipment. Luckily, it was under yellow flag conditions. He had to start at the tail end of the field.

“It’s really hard to pass. I only passed probably two or three trucks when I got in the very back. That built my confidence a tiny bit, but then we were able to come down in the pits, get four tires for that last stage and be really aggressive on restarts. You had to just really try and get every spot you can because that’s pretty much your only chance here.”

In his first three starts of the season, Gilliland averaged a finish of 17th. The strong run at New Hampshire placed some confidence in the rookie driver. Gilliland had the tones of team owner, Kyle Busch, on his radio helping him out through the event.

“For one thing or another we just haven’t really got the finished that we wanted, so it definitely feels good to finish this one off. I had Kyle Busch on the radio telling me what he felt through his Cup car and everything and I feel like that really helped a lot. With all those little things that Kyle Busch Motorsports provides, you should be able to get the finishes that we got today and it’s definitely just a big confidence booster going into the next one.”

Unfortunately, the third place finish was spoiled during post-race technical inspection. NASCAR discovered improper air intake modifications on the No. 51. The No. 51 sits second in the owner’s championship standings only 38 points behind the No. 4 of Christopher Bell. Any penalties would be announced next week.

The next race for Gilliland will be at Martinsville Speedway on October 28th in the Texas Roadhouse 200 presented by Alpha Energy Solutions.

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