ACCIDENT RUINS GILLILAND'S SHOT AT THE DAYTONA 500 DAYTONA BEACH, Fla. (February 11, 2010) - The Gatorade Duel 150's are run to determine the starting line-up for the Daytona 500. The BAM Racing/Robby Gordon Motorsports No. 49...
ACCIDENT RUINS GILLILAND'S SHOT AT THE DAYTONA 500
DAYTONA BEACH, Fla. (February 11, 2010) - The Gatorade Duel 150's are run to determine the starting line-up for the Daytona 500. The BAM Racing/Robby Gordon Motorsports No. 49 team would have to finish among the top 2 of the 10 non-guaranteed cars in the second Duel in order to make the 500. After starting 21st, David Gilliland had the Larry The Cable Guy Camry in the 15th position, securely in the transfer spot to make it into the 500. Then, contact from the No. 20 Toyota driven by Joey Logano caused David to spin out coming off of turn four. The racecar was never the same after the incident; the best Gilliland could manage was an 18th place finish, the 5th of the non-guaranteed cars. The team missed the Daytona 500.
Team owner Beth Ann Morgenthau had only one simply instruction for Gilliland before the race, "Be safe and get in the race!" During the parade laps, the team went through their normal procedures, making sure David had the right switches turned on, and setting his tachometer to the allowed pit road speed. Crew Chief Miles Stanley encouraged David and the team, "All right, let's get after it, have some fun!" Gilliland echoed his statement saying, "A lot of hard work went into putting all of this together. We'll do the best that we can."
Being mired back in the pack, David was very conservative at the start of the race, trying both the high lane and the low lane to get a feel for how the car was running. On lap 4 he had lost two spots and was running 23rd. The spotter, David Keith pointed out, "You get a good run off the bottom." By lap 7 David was up to 18th using the inside lane, then moved up to 16th a lap later on the top side. Lap 13 saw the Warner Music Nashville Camry maintaining its 16th spot until David got hung out of the draft by Casey Mears, and fell to 20th - almost out of touch with the lead draft.
The team radio chatter mostly consisted of the spotter giving feeding information to Gilliland, "Clear high . . . looking low . . one underneath . . . 3 wide middle, now just one outside . . . help coming . . . " etc. But during this segment with no other cars around, David gave some feedback to the crew: "It's a little too tight in the turns. It's not bad though, track position is tough!" After a few more laps David added, "It's tight on entry and landing." Stanley responded, "10-4, you can try that right front bead blower; if you want, turn it off."
The lead pack started mixing it up, going 3-wide and creating a big hole in the air allowing Gilliland to catch right back up. On lap 19 he was back to 16th position. He reported, "Getting tighter and tighter." Stanley responded, "We'll go up on the left rear wedge bolt." After the spotter advised, "You get a hell of a run off 2 right there on the top." David moved up a spot to 15th on lap 25, then said, "Miles, definitely take air out the right front and then maybe do wedge." Miles keyed his mic and said, "10-4, we'll do air."
The next thing the crew heard, on lap 27 was an immediate, "Lock it down! Lock it down! . . . 20 hooked us." The crew members quickly glanced at the Sprint Vision screen to see the No. 49 spinning off turn four. David quickly righted the car and headed to pit road. When asked about the incident later he clarified, "I had the 20 on me and I got a little squirrelly off 4 and got the wall. It knocked the right front fender in and made it a little tight - that's when he got me." (Tight means that the car was pushing, or understeering, so when David drove into Turn 3, the car went up towards the outside wall; then when he tried to bring the car back down to the inside lane, Logano was there and gave him an unnecessary nudge, causing David to spin out.)
Miles began barking orders to get the crew ready, "4 tires, air in right front, one round down on right rear wedge bolt." The spotter added, "Got right front fender too, got the wall a little bit. The roof flap's up." David brought the car in and the crew began a flurry of activity to get the car back out on the track without losing a lap. The next lap, when the pits were open, the entire field came in for tires and fuel. Gilliland brought the car back in to finish repairs. Miles commanded, "Get the splitter brace fixed on the right front and get the right side cleaned up." As repairs were being made, Miles added, "Bump a little fuel in it."
The race restarted at the halfway point, lap 30 with David in 24th spot. Since our teammate Robby Gordon was running a few positions ahead in the same draft, a message was relayed through our spotter, "Robby says he'll get behind you and shove you if you get by him." Later the spotter also said, "We get screwed every time we low go, but I ain't gonna' tell you how to drive." Despite our damaged car, in the draft Gilliland was able to move up to 22nd on lap 39, then to 20th on lap 40. Then one move made him lose the lead draft . . .
According to Robby Gordon in a post-race debrief, "The 92 hit the wall and backed our whole group up. We lost the gap." Derrick Cope, Gilliland, Dale Earnhardt, Jr. and Robby formed a tight four car draft and tried to run down the leaders, but it didn't work. In fact, it looked like Cope, at the head of the pack was blocking so much that Dale, Jr. finally parked his car to make sure it wouldn't get torn up. Gilliland and Gordon did finally get past Cope and were running laps comparable to the leaders, but were just too far back to catch them. David ended up in 18th position with Gordon directly behind in his No. 7 Monster Toyota, still pushing the No. 49.
Now the combined BAM Racing/Robby Gordon Motorsports (RGM) team is off to the Auto Club Speedway in Fontana, CA for the Auto Club 500 on Sunday, February 21. Our affiliation with RGM means that the No. 7 Camry is guaranteed a starting position for the next four races and we will not have to go through the heart wrenching process of either qualifying or going back home every week.