Daytona II: Gilliland Friday interview

DAVID GILLILAND, NO. 84 HYDE MOTORSPORTS CHEVROLET MONTE CARLO PRESS CONFERENCE Gilliland is a 30 year-old native of Riverside, Calif. He was the NASCAR Busch Series winner three weeks ago at Kentucky Speedway in a race that many people are ...


Gilliland is a 30 year-old native of Riverside, Calif. He was the NASCAR Busch Series winner three weeks ago at Kentucky Speedway in a race that many people are calling one of the most significant victories in NASCAR Busch Series history. It was also a major achievement for Chevrolet because it was the manufacturer's 300th victory in the 25-year history of NASCAR's Busch Series competition.

He followed that victory up last week at Infineon Raceway by qualifying there and finishing the race 32nd. His next NASCAR Busch Series start will be next week in Chicago.

Gilliland is the 1997 championship crew chief in the AutoZone West Series and also competed in the NASCAR Southwest Series and NASCAR Dodge Weekly Series where he has won multiple times. He was last year's Toyota All-Star Showdown champion as well.

THIS HAS BEEN A WHIRLWIND THREE WEEKS FOR YOU. TELL US WHAT YOU'VE GONE THROUGH AND HOW THINGS MAY HAVE CHANGED FOR YOU: "Things have definitely changed, like you said, just like being here. Some of you guys have probably heard of me now in the last two weeks and before you wouldn't of. It's changed a lot. I've gotten a lot of media experience and done a lot of interviews. It's been good. It's exactly what I needed for my career and it's what we've worked really hard to do.

TWO YEARS AGO THERE WAS ANOTHER WINNER AND A STORY SIMILAR TO YOURS IN CHICAGO WHEN JUSTIN LABONTE WON THERE AS A PART-TIME DRIVER AND OWNED HIS OWN TEAM. WHAT ARE YOUR THOUGHTS ON THAT WITH YOU GOING TO CHICAGO? "He did that in Chicago and then that's where we're going back for our next race so we're looking forward to going there and trying to repeat what we've done. Hopefully next time it won't be such an upset."

ON CAPTURING THE 300TH BUSCH SERIES WIN FOR CHEVROLET: "Chevrolet has been the gold standard in stock car racing for a long time," Gilliland said. "They have more wins and championships than any other manufacturer and for me to be able to carve a place in their racing legacy just adds to our win. Three-hundred wins is a lot and I'm sure they will get 300 more."

HAVE YOU HAD ANY FIRM OFFERS FOR NEXT SEASON? "No, not really. We have talked to some teams but right now we've had some good sponsorship opportunities for the team I'm with. Hopefully we can put something together to run full time next year."

DO YOU FEEL LIKE YOU REALLY HAVE TO TAKE ADVANTAGE OF YOUR SUCCESS AND USE ALL THIS ATTENTION WHILE YOU CAN? "Yeah, absolutely. The old saying strike while the iron is hot is definitely a factor. Like I said we found some good stuff as far as our team goes and in my opinion we're just getting started. We're building our own motors so every week we're progressing there. We're progressing in our race car shop. We just completed our first new Busch car from the ground up so (there's) a lot of good things happening. Hopefully we'll put a sponsor together. We're just looking for opportunities."

WERE YOU ALREADY PLANNING TO RACE IN CHICAGO BEFORE YOUR VICTORY? DO YOU HAVE ANY EXPERIENCE AT THE CHICAGO TRACK? "Chicago has been on our original schedule. Our schedule has kind of been flexible. It's been kind of nice because building a new team and going to the track unprepared is not the right thing to do. Clay Andrews (team owner) has given us a good opportunity there as far as not forcing us to go to specific tracks. My crew chief, Billy Wilburn, really likes Chicago and that's one of the reasons he picked that race. Hopefully we'll be good there. We're taking the same car that we won Kentucky with and I like it."

BEING THAT YOU ARE A PART-TIME TEAM WITHOUT SPONSORSHIP, HOW DID YOU GET TEAMED UP WITH TALENTED INDIVIDUALS LIKE BILLY WILBURN AND JERRY NADEAU? "A friend of mine, Frank Kerr, who is the car chief for Robby Gordon, he was the crew chief for me at my first Busch race last year. He was friends with Billy Wilburn. I qualified the car for Robby Gordon two years ago at Miami. Frank was over there and we qualified seventh our first time ever in a Busch car so he's been trying to help me since then trying to get something else going. He talked to Wilburn and told him to keep an eye on me and try to help me. That's how the deal came about. Then Moore Consulting Group is looking for sponsorship for us and representing us. He also does everything with Jerry Nadeau so we got hooked up that way. It's really been good. We really formed a good relationship and everybody over there has a lot of confidence in me and it's really helped me coming to the race track every week to have guys that are behind you and that really believe in you.

ALL THE WEST COAST DRIVERS HAVE BEEN ROOTING FOR YOU. HAVE YOU BEEN READING ALL THE THINGS OTHER DRIVERS ARE SAYING ABOUT YOU? "Yeah, it's good. I went to Infineon and talked to (Kevin) Harvick and Kurt Busch and Jimmie Johnson came up and talked to me. It's good. When you move up to a new series like the Busch Series from the Grand National West Series where I'm from, I felt a little bit intimidated coming here. Now I feel a little bit more accepted. It's definitely made me look forward to going to the race track a little bit more and I'm really looking forward to going to Chicago and racing with those guys again."

ON WHAT THE NASCAR SOUTHWEST SERIES AND SOME OF THE OTHER ELITE DIVSIONS MEAN TO HIM AND THE LOSS OF THOSE SERIES: "I think the Southwest Tour Series is a great series. Obviously guys like Ron Hornaday, Kevin Harvick and Kurt Busch ran in it. A lot of good guys have come up through the series. NASCAR put together a great series there. The Grand National Series I think will be a better stepping stone for young guys to go through and I think that's what NASCAR is trying to do. I've been watching the Grand National Series this year and it's really grown. There's been a lot more teams and a lot more cars so I think it's going to be a good situation. A West car is much more comparable to a Busch or Cup car than a Tour car. If guys really wants to do this and keep going it will be a step in the right direction for them."

THE BUSCH SERIES MEDIA GUIDE SAYS THERE ARE 31 DRIVERS THAT WON ONE RACE. MANY OF THEM WERE NEVER HEARD FROM SINCE. WHAT DO YOU THINK YOU BRING TO THAT GROUP AND WHAT WILL GET YOU TO THAT GROUP OF ABOUT 40 DRIVERS THAT WON TWO RACES? "I'm hoping that my experience on the cars. At our shop I'm there every day. I'm working on the cars. I'm helping them set them up. I'm very involved and I've been on the other side and I understand the race cars and how they work and everything else. The biggest thing that's helped our team be successful so fast is our ability to communicate with Billy Wilburn. Being that I am there everyday he's got a lot of respect for me and a lot of confidence in me that I know about race cars so when we get to the race track there's never any second guessing. I don't second-guess him. I've watched him as I was growing up in racing. He's called races and been a crew chief for guys like Rusty Wallace and Dale Jarrett. I have a lot of respect for him and what he does and he has a lot of respect for what I do. (It's) just communication and I think my ability to communicate what the car is doing to the person that is helping me will help me."

RICHARD CHILDRESS EXPRESSED SOME INTEREST IN YOU. HAVE YOU TALKED TO HIM OR ANY OTHER TEAM OWNERS ABOUT A FULL-TIME OFFER? "I've talked to a lot of team owners. I heard it was on Jayski or something because everyone has been calling and telling me. Right now we're looking to run full time next year and if we can bring sponsorship to our team that I'm currently with, that's something that we're very interested in, but most of all we're interested in racing full time. We're going to see where that takes us."

-gm racing-

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Series NASCAR Cup
Drivers Dale Jarrett , Rusty Wallace , Kevin Harvick , Robby Gordon , Jerry Nadeau , Kurt Busch , Ron Hornaday Jr. , Jimmie Johnson