Gilliland Has Mixed Results at Bristol
Bristol, Tenn., (August 22, 2009) - David Gilliland had a heartbreak weekend in the TRG Motorsports No. 71 TaxSlayer.com Chevrolet Impala SS. The 39th place finish at Bristol Motor Speedway for Saturday night's NASCAR Sprint Cup Series Sharpie 500 was not at all indicative of how the team ran all weekend.
In qualifying Gilliland put in a fabulous lap, putting the No. 71 TaxSlayer.com Chevy 12th on the grid. This comes after finishing each of the two practices in the top ten.
Brist. fin The team ran a strong 60% of the race running as high as eighth. The team was performing great pit stops, helping Gilliland to makeup track position. The car was better on long runs and the team was poised for a strong finish. On lap 355, with no warning, a lower ball joint broke sending the 71 TaxSlayer.com Chevy into the wall and ending the team's run early.
"I am really proud of all the guys at TRG Motorsports, they did a great job preparing this car and working on it all weekend," Gilliland said. "We were fast from the minute we hit the race track on Friday. That is what you need to be competitive in this series and that is how our weekend started.Our TaxSlayer.com Chevy was running really well. We were never in danger of going a lap down. That is hard to do at Bristol. There were some great cars and teams laps down when we went out."
"I think we broke something on the right front of the car. This is the hardest track on equipment. I had no warning, all at once it went. It is unfortunate. This whole weekend has been very positive for everyone at TRG Motorsports. We made some big strides as a team this weekend. We will rebound at Atlanta. We will have TaxSlayer.com on the car and it is one of my favorite tracks and we will be competitive there as well."
Kevin Buckler, TRG Motorsports team principal, is proud of the way the team performed this weekend.
"This was almost a corner turned for TRG Motorsports this weekend," Buckler said. "We ran competitively with some of the top teams in the sport and the guys worked their butts off all weekend and it showed. With top times in practice, a strong qualifying effort, competitive pit stops and a great race going, we were having a great weekend. David really delivered all weekend, driving smart and never missing a mark. Slugger (Labbe, crew chief) was brilliant on the setup and Mike (Brown, general manager and spotter) really earned his paycheck this weekend - it was nuts! The part failure is disappointing, but we are going away from Bristol with a great feeling for the future of this team. This was flat-out racing, no secret aero advantages or parts we can't afford. We are going to surprise a lot of people before this season is over."
The NASCAR Sprint Cup Series will take next weekend off and return to action Labor Day weekend, Sunday, September 6 for another night race.