LAS VEGAS – After Todd Gilliland led the most laps at Las Vegas Motor Speedway, a final restart saw the four ThorSport Racing trucks find a way around Gilliland and drop him to a heartbreaking fifth position in the final results of the Victoria’s Voice Foundation 200 Presented by Westgate Resorts.
“That really is truck racing,” Gilliland stated. “Sometimes it works to your advantage, sometimes it doesn’t. The whole pushing and relying on someone else is what stings the most to me. I felt like I got a great restart, but didn’t get a push from behind and that really decides your race. Such a fast Ford F-150 tonight. That was the most fun I’ve had in the truck, just to be able to dice around the field.
“Vegas always puts on a great race, just really sticks to be walking out of the race track again, ultra-disappointed.”
Las Vegas opened the Round of 8 for the NASCAR Camping World Truck Series, the final round to determine that Championship 4 drivers to compete for the 2021 title at Phoenix Raceway in November. While Gilliland was eliminated last round after a clutch victory last weekend by Chandler Smith at Bristol Motor Speedway, his No. 38 Speedco Ford F-150 is still in the NASCAR Playoffs of the owner points championship. Front Row Motorsports now sits second, just four points behind the No. 99 ThorSport machine.
“I don’t know if that makes it worse or not, seeing the guys we could have been racing in the Round of 8 have a lot of issues. I can’t change the past, and we’re still in it for the owner’s championship so it gives me confidence having a good points day here. Ultimately that’s what our goal has shifted to is the owner’s championship. Overall, a really fast truck and lucky to be doing it, but also very disappointed at the same time.”
The final stage saw five caution flags, three of which involved Playoff drivers. But with all of those restarts, Gilliland fought his way to keep his truck at the front of the field. One driver equaled it to the “Talladega of the west coast” when it came to the chaos of the restarts, but for Gilliland, the pushing didn’t go in his favor and cost him the trophy by the time the checkered flag flew.
“Just no push really,” Gilliland explained as he walked through the final restart. “I was a truck-length ahead of my help, and they were hooked up perfectly on the top. I think I was clear for maybe a split second and I maybe should have gone up, but that’s the hard part. I thought I had a little better push than I did. The push (on the outside) really ended our night.”
Talladega Superspeedway comes next week for the Truck series, then a long break until the short track of Martinsville Speedway to determine the four drivers into the final round. As for the rest of the Playoffs, including Talladega, Gilliland has fun on his mind.
“Just go have fun,” Gilliland stated with a smile. “I love superspeedway racing. I think sometimes I’m on the verge of dangerous pushing, but we’re always really fast up until we wreck. Hopefully we can just be fast without the wreck this time at Talladega. We finished second there one time a couple years ago. Always enjoy racing there, and on the Playoff side just go and enjoy every lap to have fun with it.”
Gilliland and the rest of the Camping World Truck Series competition will compete next at Talladega in the Chevy Silverado 250 on October 2.