TRG Motorsports Ready for Auto Club 500 with Gilliland Labbe to crew chief Mooresville, North Carolina (February 17, 2009) - David Gilliland will drive the No. 71 TRG Motorsports Chevrolet Impala SS in round two of the NASCAR Sprint Cup Series...
TRG Motorsports Ready for Auto Club 500 with Gilliland
Labbe to crew chief
Mooresville, North Carolina (February 17, 2009) - David Gilliland will drive the No. 71 TRG Motorsports Chevrolet Impala SS in round two of the NASCAR Sprint Cup Series at the Auto Club Speedway in Fontana, California on Sunday, February 22. Daytona 500 winning crew chief, Richard "Slugger" Labbe, has also joined the team.
The 33-year old Gilliland raced in 2008 for Robert Yates behind the wheel of the No. 38 and was the 2007 Daytona 500 Pole Winner. Gilliland is originally from Riverside, California, just up the road from Fontana. He cut his teeth on ovals all over the West Coast in his ascension up the NASCAR ladder.
"I was at Daytona when Kevin (Buckler, TRG Motorsports team principal) called me," Gilliland said. "It is a good opportunity, we are going to lean on each other."
"I am excited to run in my hometown. When I lived in Riverside I was about 10 minutes from the track before I moved to North Carolina. It is going home for me. I won't sleep in my old bedroom but I will be as close as I have been in a while."
"Auto Club Speedway is a good track for me. I had a pole there in the Grand National West Series. I finished 17th there last year. I have had some good runs at the track. It is the track that I have the most experience at on the schedule, which gives me a lot of confidence for the weekend. It is a great place for me to debut with TRG Motorsports. They didn't make the race at Daytona, and I think we can definitely change that this weekend."
"I haven't worked with Slugger in the past. I think he left the week before I got to Yates. I have worked with him the last couple of days and I am looking forward to racing with him on the pit box."
Slugger Labbe knows how to win in NASCAR's premier league. As a crew chief at Dale Earnhardt Inc., he won two races at Daytona including the 2003 Daytona 500. Labbe most recently worked with Red Bull Racing in driver development.
TRG Motorsports' Kevin Buckler is determined to establish the team in the Sprint Cup Series.
"Daytona was a hard lesson," Buckler said. "We are determined to put the right pieces in place to be successful. David has the most experience in the COT car of any driver available. Slugger gives us a lot of experience working with the COT car. We were short a few pieces at Daytona, but I believe we have put the right people together to have a successful weekend in California."