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HAPPY HOMECOMING FOR GILLILAND IN CALIFORNIA CHARLOTTE, NC (February 20, 2007) -- For West Coast native David Gilliland, it has been an all East Coast start to the 2007 season. Daytona International Speedway (DIS) was very kind to the driver of...

HAPPY HOMECOMING FOR GILLILAND IN CALIFORNIA

CHARLOTTE, NC (February 20, 2007) -- For West Coast native David Gilliland, it has been an all East Coast start to the 2007 season. Daytona International Speedway (DIS) was very kind to the driver of the M&M'S Ford as he captured the pole in his first visit to the 2.5-mile superspeedway and finished no lower than eighth in the three races he ran at DIS during Speedweeks.

After a successful start to the season, Gilliland is excited to return to familiar ground as he heads 'home" to California Speedway for the running of the Auto Club 500. Prior to moving to North Carolina at the start of 2006, the Riverside native housed his racing operation in a small shop just a few miles from the Fontana race track. Now he returns as one of one NASCAR's newest stars looking to continue his streak of success.

Quoting M&M'S Driver David Gilliland:

Talk a little about your feelings the morning after the Daytona 500 after you had some time to let it all soak in.

As I was getting out of the car on Sunday, I was very disappointed. As a driver, you really have tunnel-vision and you cannot see the big picture. I really thought we had a shot at the end to win but after you watch the replay of the wreck on the last lap, I saw the hole close in front of me and I realized we were really lucky to make it across the finish line in the top-10.

On Monday morning, I was a lot more upbeat after taking a step back. This is a great position to be in heading to California. The team feels upbeat. Everyone at M&M'S is really excited about the start we've had so far so finishing eighth after going a lap down was a great finish for us."

What it is like to come home to California after such an exciting week in Daytona?

"We got a ton of phone calls from family and friends while we were in Daytona after winning the pole so I'm excited to come home and see everyone. Most of our friends and our family still live in this area so it's great to come back and get to see everyone. These are the people that helped me reach this point in my career so its going to be a lot of fun to come home and really spend some time with them this weekend."

What are your goals for the next couple of races?

"This is my favorite type of racing, running on the intermediate tracks. California is a track I've got some laps on. I feel very confident after the Vegas test with where our intermediate program is heading at RYR. We are bringing the same car to California that we ran in Homestead last year and tested at Vegas this winter, which is a great car. We had a good top-five run going there (in Homestead) but we had an accident ending our chances for a good finish.

"I think the biggest thing I have worked on is working on my patience. Patience is key to big picture racing. These are 500 miles races, much longer than anything I have been used to running, and I really have to pace myself as a driver to make sure we are running at the end to have a shot at a good finish. Last year we looked at each race on its own and now each race is a part of the big picture so our goal is come home every week with solid finishes."

You were talking a lot about patience. Does your new spotter Earl Barban play a big part in helping you with this?

"Absolutely. I immediately felt very comfortable with Earl on the radio. I have a ton on respect for everything he has done working with Rusty (Wallace) and Jimmie Johnson. To me, it is like having Todd Parrott on the rook spotting for you. He has so much experience and is so good at what he does, you feel very at ease and I can listen to everything he says and just learn from it. Mostly, I think he will help me stay calm and focused for all 500 miles. He is just a huge asset to our team and I'm really thankful to have him in our corner."

-credit: ryr

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About this article
Series Monster Energy NASCAR Cup
Drivers Jimmie Johnson , David Gilliland