David Gilliland preview

David Gilliland preview

Event: Las Vegas

Gilliland Banks on Horsepower and Heritage

Statesville, N.C. (March 2, 2011) - David Gilliland can't wait to get his Taco Bell Ford on the mile-and-a-half banks of Las Vegas (Nev.) Motor Speedway. After taking a strong No. 34 Fusion to both Daytona and Phoenix, Gilliland now heads to his favorite type of track sitting 10th in championship points, eager to see what his upgraded cars and new Ford FR9 engine can accomplish in Sunday's Kobalt Tools 400.

David Gilliland, Front Row Motorsports Ford
David Gilliland, Front Row Motorsports Ford

Eric Gilbert

This weekend the No. 34 Fusion will carry a decal honoring a driver who sported the same number several decades ago. NASCAR will honor trailblazer Wendell Scott - the first African-American to win a Sprint Cup race - this weekend at Las Vegas on the 50th anniversary of his first career start.

Comments from Taco Bell driver David Gilliland heading into Las Vegas:

"Being from the West Coast, Vegas is a home track for me. We get a lot of friends and family that come out there. And not only that, but it's a fun place to go. And we've run well there in the past, so I'm excited to go back. The mile-and-a-half stuff is probably my favorite kind of racing, so I'm looking forward to driving one of our new cars on that type of track.

"It's been great having the new FR9 engines under the hood. Talking to Doug Yates and everybody over at Roush-Yates Engines, they're really excited about the FR9 and feel like they made good gains over the winter. After our first couple races, I can definitely say it's made a huge difference in our cars. Now I can't wait to feel it on the mile-and-a-half stuff. That's where you can really feel the power.

"Last week in Phoenix we got knocked around a little in that big wreck, so our Taco Bell Ford wasn't as competitive later in the race as it should've been. But Peter Sospenzo and the guys really had it dialed in during practice, and we would've had a good race if not for the damage that affected the car. So we're hoping to stay out of those messes this week and get back to where we left off in Daytona (where the team finished third).

"We're going to have a decal on the car this weekend honoring Wendell Scott. All the cars will, actually, but I think it's extra special for us because we're the No. 34, the number that he drove. You've got to admire a guy like that, who went after what he wanted, racing in NASCAR, even though the environment at the time probably wasn't the friendliest for him. You've got to respect someone who accomplished what he did.

"Now, NASCAR has this great diversity program where they're really trying to integrate the sport and give everyone a chance to succeed. And you could definitely say that that's a result of what Wendell started back in the 50s. I'm proud to drive the same number he had on his car."

-source: front row motorsports

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Series NASCAR-CUP
Tags ford, front row motorsports, toco bell