Earlier this week during the weekly NASCAR NEXTEL Cup Series teleconference, Ricky Rudd, driver of the No. 88 Snickers Ford Fusion, defended teammate David Gilliland when questioned about whether or not he belonged in the NASCAR NEXTEL Cup Series.
Earlier this week during the weekly NASCAR NEXTEL Cup Series teleconference, Ricky Rudd, driver of the No. 88 Snickers Ford Fusion, defended teammate David Gilliland when questioned about whether or not he belonged in the NASCAR NEXTEL Cup Series. Gilliland, a California native and driver of the No. 38 M&M's Ford Fusion, spoke about Rudd's vote of confidence and how that made him feel.
DAVID GILLILAND -- No. 38 M&M's Ford Fusion
WHAT DOES IT MEAN TO YOU AS A YOUNG DRIVER, STILL TRYING TO GET HIS FOOTING IN THIS SERIES, TO HAVE A VETERAN LIKE RICKY DEFEND YOUR ABILITY? "It means a lot to have somebody like that, who has been around the series long enough to know, voice his opinion like that. He's helped me a lot this year going to a lot of the tracks with his experience and for him to stand up for me and say what he really thinks meant a whole lot to me because he doesn't have to do that kind of thing."
WHEN YOU ARE CRITICIZED BY A VETERAN, HOW DOES IT AFFECT YOU? "It gets to me a little bit because you want to have the respect of the drivers you race around. On Sunday morning in Michigan before the race, I probably had 10 drivers come up to me and asked, 'You're not gonna let what Tony said get to you, right?' I just kind of shrugged my shoulders and they're like, 'Well, don't because we all race with you and you're fine.' And then for Ricky to go ahead and say that too, that really gives me a lot of confidence coming back in here this weekend."
AS FAR AS THIS WEEKEND GOES, IT DIDN'T GET OFF TO A GREAT START, BUT HOW DO YOU FEEL ABOUT THE RACE TOMORROW? "I'm excited about the race. We've got some work to do with our car because we weren't exactly where we needed to be, but we've got some more practice today and we're gonna work on trying to make our car a little bit better. Here you can do so many different strategies and there are different ways to get your track position back. Todd is on top of his game in that regard, so we'll probably have to lean a little bit on that on Sunday."
WHETHER YOUR CAR IS GOOD OR BAD, IS THE KEY TO A GOOD FINISH JUST STAYING ON THE TRACK? "Absolutely. Whether you're good or bad, anytime you come to a road course I was always taught to race the race track. It's easy when you catch someone to lose focus for a second of racing the race track and you start focusing on trying to pass the guy, and then all of a sudden he goes off the track and you follow him right off the track. You see it all the time, so the biggest thing is to just race the race track and just stay on the track so you give yourself the best chance you can. It's a long race. It's not a lot of miles, but it's a long race and very demanding on the race cars and your equipment."
DO YOU LOOK FORWARD TO COMING TO THESE RACES? "I didn't grow up doing a lot of it, but I look forward to coming to them. It's something different and I enjoy doing it, so between that and coming back to California, this is a race that I really look forward to coming to."
ARE THERE A LOT OF FAMILY AND FRIENDS HERE THIS WEEKEND? "We have a little bit of family that came and it's always nice to see them, but the main thing is to just come back out here and see some of the officials. Since we're running on the same weekend as the Grand National West Series, it's kind of nice to see all the guys we used to race against and all of our friends from that series, too."
-credit: ford racing