Gilliland Rides Wave into Infineon California native to run first race with CJM Racing HICKORY, NC -- David Gilliland will make his NASCAR NEXTEL Cup debut this weekend in the Dodge/Save Mart 350 at the Infineon Raceway. The Riverside, Calif.
Gilliland Rides Wave into Infineon
California native to run first race with CJM Racing
HICKORY, NC -- David Gilliland will make his NASCAR NEXTEL Cup debut this weekend in the Dodge/Save Mart 350 at the Infineon Raceway. The Riverside, Calif. native will pilot the No. 72 Dutch Quality Stone Dodge for CJM Racing. Gilliland hopes to bring the momentum of his monumental win in the NASCAR Busch Series to the Napa Valley road course. He became the first non-NEXTEL Cup regular to win in 18 straight Busch Series races when he took the checkered flag in the Meijer 300 at the Kentucky Speedway.
Gilliland has a successful history at the Infineon Raceway. He won a NASCAR AutoZone Elite Division, Southwest Series event at the track in 2004. The Gilliland name has legions of fans on the West Coast due to the achievements of David and his father, Butch Gilliland. Father and son teamed up as driver/crew chief and captured the NASCAR Winston West championship in 1997. As a result David became the youngest to ever win the Crew Chief of the Year Award for that series. The younger Gilliland has over 70 wins, in various series, on the west coast.
Team owners Bryan and Tony Mullet are getting their feet wet in the NEXTEL Cup Series. In 2005 they acquired interest in the former operation of Morgan Shepherd. Recently they bought the team outright and are in the process of building new cars and a new shop. The two brothers are the owners of Dutch Quality Stone, the company that will adorn the No. 72 Dodge.
The green flag for the Dodge/Save Mart 350 will be at 3:40 EST. The race will be carried live on Fox and all MRN affiliates.
How has your life changed since your big win at Kentucky?
"It has been a crazy week so far. We have filled so many radio requests I think I could do them in my sleep. But I have loved every minute of it. The highlight of the week has definitely been the call I got from Mike Helton. He told me that our win was exactly what NASCAR needed and that he was proud of all of us. As a driver you can't ask for much more than the approval of your league president."
Your situation at Sonoma mirrors where you were just last week, an un-sponsored, start-up team. What are your expectations for this weekend?
"We are going there to make the race and get a solid finish. We tested at Virginia International Raceway two weeks ago and were really pleased. The motors are strong and Doug George (crew chief) and I are working well together. I think it would be foolish to expect a repeat finish from Kentucky, but a solid top-20 is not out of the question."
David will be a guest of the California legislature on Thursday morning at the State Capitol in Sacramento. He will be a part of the proclamation of "NASCAR Weekend" in Sonoma.
David will be a part of the Raybestos Rookie press conference on Friday morning at 10:00 am in the Comcast Media Center. David will also be a guest of the Speed Channel show "Trackside Live" on Friday evening.