Gilliland Ready to Repeat Top-20 Martinsville Run Team Testing at Motor Mile to Prepare for Short Track Statesville, N.C. (October 19, 2010) - David Gilliland and the No. 37 Taco Bell Ford team return to Martinsville (Va.) Speedway this...
Gilliland Ready to Repeat Top-20 Martinsville Run
Team Testing at Motor Mile to Prepare for Short Track
Statesville, N.C. (October 19, 2010) - David Gilliland and the No. 37 Taco Bell Ford team return to Martinsville (Va.) Speedway this week with memories of their best finish of 2010 - a 19th-place result at the 0.526-mile oval in March. The team will take that strong finish, add the experience and knowledge they've gained over the past seven months since that race, and look to run even better in Sunday's TUMS Fast Relief 500.
The Taco Bell crew will also arrive in Martinsville with the benefit of a day of testing. To help prepare for the half-mile, paperclip-shaped track, all three Front Row Motorsports teams will test at Motor Mile Speedway in Radford, Va., on Thursday.
On race day when Gilliland straps in to his No. 37 Ford Fusion, he'll get the command to start his engine from a familiar voice. Taco Bell team member Jim Byrne will be among the Pit Crew Grand Marshals who will be recognized in a pre-race ceremony and who will give the starting command. One member from each pit crew was selected by his team to participate in the ceremony.
Sunday's race will be Gilliland's ninth Sprint Cup start at Martinsville. His 19th-place finish in March is his career best.
Comments from Taco Bell Driver David Gilliland on Martinsville Speedway, On-Track Paybacks and Pit Crew Grand Marshal Jim Byrne:
"I feel good about going back to Martinsville. It's actually a track that's kind of a coin toss regarding what can happen. There's so many little things that can affect you. You get stacked up and jammed up because it's such a tight track for 43 cars. But I enjoy racing there and I think we're going to take a good package there. I feel like we ran decent there earlier this year and that we learned a lot, and I feel like we can be better going back.
"I'm looking forward to going there with Peter (crew chief Peter Sospenzo) now that he and I are teamed up and putting to work some of the things that we've learned more recently. I feel like some of the things we've learned in recent weeks will work at Martinsville, too. So I'm excited to go back and try to build on what we've done so far this season.
"Martinsville is a track where you definitely see paybacks. At any track, really, if somebody gets into you, you can always get them back, it seems like. But Martinsville is a good place for that. If you do have some frustration to get out on someone, at least the speeds aren't up too high. I accidentally got into Matt Kenseth at Martinsville two years ago, and we were running really well. And about 350 laps later, he spun me out and wrecked me.
"It's a place that, if you're having a bad day, it's a really bad day. Because you can't get out of the way as cars are coming up on you. Your day is just super long and super frustrating. So you'll see a lot of people bumpin' and bangin' and pushin' and shovin'.
"I think it's really cool that they're making one guy from each pit crew a grand marshal. All the guys at all the teams work hard, but I know everybody at Front Row Motorsports works overtime, too, to be able to put three cars on the track with our limited amount of resources. Jim Byrne is a great example of that. He's the guy who is never looking at the clock when he's working. He's always there to do whatever it takes to get the job done - and not only get the job done but do it the best he can. I really like Jim and get along with him well, and I'll be looking forward to seeing him up there getting some recognition."
-source: front row motorsports