Gilliland Finishes Rain Shortened Coke 600 in 27th Charlotte, North Carolina, (May 25, 2009) - David Gilliland finished the No. 71 TRG Motorsports Chevrolet Impala SS, carrying the CompUSA.com colors, in 27th at a rained shortened Coca-Cola 600...
Gilliland Finishes Rain Shortened Coke 600 in 27th
Charlotte, North Carolina, (May 25, 2009) - David Gilliland finished the No. 71 TRG Motorsports Chevrolet Impala SS, carrying the CompUSA.com colors, in 27th at a rained shortened Coca-Cola 600 today at Lowe's Motor Speedway.
char fin Gilliland, who also qualified 29th, had the "best race car of the year" in the 600 today, running as high as 14th. He was a fixture in the top 20 and moving toward the front. Crew chief, Slugger Labbe, made a call for two tires early to help with track position, but Gilliland did the rest on the track. On lap 180 during a restart Gilliland had transmission problems which dropped him back in the running order, which later manifested itself into a broken second and third gear. The team kept Gilliland out during the last caution, low on fuel, to eventually take 27th position.
"We had the best car of the year here today," Gilliland said. "The car could turn really well and it was fun to drive. We were making very small adjustments on the pit stops setting ourselves up for the end of the race. The guys were doing great pit stops and it was looking like a great run for the team. The rain cautions were helping us because we took two tires early and things were falling into place."
The team pitted on lap 131 and Gilliland was on a charge and had a small amount of wheel hop under braking which caused him to speed on pit lane, resulting in a drive-thru penalty.
"That was my mistake. I came in too hot and got some wheel hop in the car and it jumped out of gear. We had ourselves positioned to make up the lap when NASCAR decided to call the race. Ending the race early really was a blessing for us, as I had only high gear left and I would have been a sitting duck on restarts and out of the pits." Kevin Buckler, TRG Motorsports team principal, is happy with the team's performance today.
"We showed, once again, that with our limited resources that we can field a very competitive car and run with most of the top teams, which is fantastic," Buckler said. "We were flat-out better than a lot of big names today. The team did a great job working through the struggles in practice and getting the car right for race day, which is what counts. David was running strong at the beginning and had a lot of confidence in the car. We had the drive-thru penalty, which was a real bummer, but Slugger had us on course to make the lap back. The transmission was going, so we will take our 27th place and go onto Dover. We are still looking for that sponsor partner to help carry this team forward into the future. It is a great group and we showed a little of what the future holds for this team today running so strong."
Up next on the NASCAR Sprint Cup Schedule is the Autism Speaks 400 at Dover International Speedway to be run on Sunday, May 31.