Gilliland and TRG Motorsports Ready for Home Track; Gilliland Second at Infineon Last Year Mooresville, North Carolina (June 15, 2009) - David Gilliland and TRG Motorsports are ready for the Toyota SaveMart 350 at Infineon Raceway in Sonoma, ...
Gilliland and TRG Motorsports Ready for Home Track; Gilliland Second at Infineon Last Year
Mooresville, North Carolina (June 15, 2009) - David Gilliland and TRG Motorsports are ready for the Toyota SaveMart 350 at Infineon Raceway in Sonoma, California. The track is the home circuit for TRG Motorsports and driver David Gilliland returns to the site of his best NASCAR finish to date, second place last year.
TRG's corporate offices are headquartered just over the hill in Turn Three a few miles away from the track in Petaluma. Team principals Kevin and Debra Buckler live in Marin, County so this is very much a home event for the entire team.
Gilliland, of Riverside, California, is looking forward to racing the 10-turn, 1.99 mile undulating road course located in the heart of wine country. Last year he qualified 32nd and was able to improve the car and finish second.
"I can't wait for this weekend," Gilliland said. "Last year with qualifying on Friday, we fought being loose with the car. On Saturday in the final practice we got the car really good and were third in practice. That gave us a lot of confidence going into the race. We took our time and got to the front. We played the fuel mileage game right, half-way through the race we got into the top five and stayed there and made a run at the end. I have won there in two other series and ran second last year in the Cup race. I'm going to Infineon with a lot of confidence. It is a lot of fun for me to go there, I really enjoy it."
The team tested at Virginia International Raceway (VIR) with TRG veteran sports car driver Andy Lally.
"The car drove well at VIR. VIR is not Infineon, but we were able to test brakes and made some changes that will make us that much closer when we unload on Friday. We came back and changed the car and we feel we have a better car as a result of the test. The TRG sports car ace, Andy Lally, was there as well and definitely added value to the test."
Crew chief Richard "Slugger" Labbe will have to be on his game with strategy, fuel mileage and track position.
"At any road race, strategy and fuel mileage play a big role. We will work very hard on making sure we are maximizing the fuel mileage. You also need a good handling car of course. In road racing there are so many opportunities to make mistakes. You have to have a car with brakes on it at the end and four fenders to be in a position to win at the end."
Car setup is key to having a good day on a road course.
"The car has to be balanced everywhere. You have to be able to get off of Turn Seven and Turn 11. Getting off of those corners in low gear is a challenge. We have to get forward traction off those corners to make the run the down the straights."
Double wide restarts will play a factor in the race this weekend.
"It will work fine as long as you are on the inside. If you are on the outside it will be a challenge. Almost every Cup race at Infineon there is an accident on the first lap in Turn Two it just gets so tight. Even though you are on the outside going across the line, which should put you on the inside into Turn Two, I would prefer the inside. It is all part of having the four fenders on the car at the end."
Kevin Buckler, TRG Motorsports team principal, is excited to be running at his home track. He will also be a key element in strategy with his years of driving road courses as a driver.
"It will be great to compete with our new NASCAR team in front of our home town crowd," Buckler said. "We have been planning for this weekend for most of the year. We will have an event pretty much every night leading up to the race and a large contingent of supporters at the top of Turn Two. David is really excited to come back here and try to improve one more position from his best ever NASCAR finish. The team has witnessed a ground swell of support from local businesses and we are proud to be the home town team. We have tested the road course car and we are very confident in our driver and our approach to the weekend. I can't wait! We will have our brain trust of road racing veterans to help in any way they can so we can have the best day possible. My career as a driver for TRG was launched with a big upset win here in 1995. Let's see if we can try to do the same with our NASCAR program."
Gilliland will also be in the No. 89 car of the Camping World West Series on Saturday driving for Daryl Wong. The last time Gilliland drove the 89 was at Phoenix where he put it on the pole.