Gilliland Qualifies 12th at Bristol for Sprint Cup at Night Bristol, Tenn., (August 21, 2009) - David Gilliland qualified the TRG Motorsports No. 71 TaxSlayer.com Chevrolet Impala SS in 12th position at Bristol Motor Speedway for Saturday...
Gilliland Qualifies 12th at Bristol for Sprint Cup at Night
Bristol, Tenn., (August 21, 2009) - David Gilliland qualified the TRG Motorsports No. 71 TaxSlayer.com Chevrolet Impala SS in 12th position at Bristol Motor Speedway for Saturday night's NASCAR Sprint Cup Series Sharpie 500.
Gilliland bettered his spring qualifying run of 14th by running a time of 15.256-seconds that will see him go away from the start from the sixth row for tomorrow's 7:30 p.m. start.
The team, led by crew chief Richard "Slugger" Labbe, was able to turn maximum laps working on both race and qualifying setup. Gilliland put in practice laps that had him second on the time sheet after the first practice and ninth after the second outing.
"We executed well today, which is what you have to do here," Gilliland said. "Slugger and all of the guys did a great job preparing the TaxSlayer.com Chevrolet for this weekend. We ran well here earlier in the year and that momentum has carried over so far. We have the same car that ran in the spring race so we are familiar with what it wants. We were able to tweak on it and make it better today. I am really proud of the guys and for me it is a bit of redemption. When I was in the TaxSlayer.com Chevy at Watkins Glen things didn't go as well. It is a huge relief. I am looking forward to having a great run for them this weekend. Everybody is excited for this race."
Working on race setup helped the qualifying effort and gives Gilliland a lot of confidence for tomorrow.
"What is even better is that we put a lot more effort into qualifying earlier in the year and did a lot worse. Today we did a lot of race trim stuff. We did a lot more race runs than qualifying runs and that really helped us. I am excited we have a great starting spot. I think we have a great car that can keep us upfront tomorrow night. With the two pit roads, qualifying well is all that much more important. We will be able to qualify on the front stretch which makes a huge difference here at Bristol."
TRG Motorsports team principal, Kevin Buckler, likes the way this tough little team is working together.
"We have a really tight group here that is doing an amazing job," Buckler said. "We worked a lot on race trim and feel we are ready for a strong race. Mike (Brown, general manager) Slugger and the guys worked hard and efficiently today on pit road and went through a whole list of changes that were showing up on the time sheet. David did an excellent job with his feedback and we were in the top 12 all day on speed. A front stretch pit stall will be key to having a good race tomorrow evening."
The .533-mile oval located on the border of Tennessee and Virginia will see a sellout crowd of over 160,000 and the possibility of rain interrupting the proceedings tomorrow evening.
The NASCAR Sprint Cup Series race from Bristol Motor Speedway will be televised on ESPN starting at 6:30 p.m. on Saturday, August 22nd.