Gilliland Brings Famous Name to Stock Car Epicenter Clay Andrews Racing Committed to Building a Winning Team STATESVILLE, N.C.- The name Gilliland is synonymous with success in stock car racing on the West Coast. Butch Gilliland is a...
Gilliland Brings Famous Name to Stock Car Epicenter
Clay Andrews Racing Committed to Building a Winning Team
STATESVILLE, N.C.- The name Gilliland is synonymous with success in stock car racing on the West Coast. Butch Gilliland is a former champion of the NASCAR Grand National Division, West Series (formerly Winston West Series). He also garnered several Most Popular Driver awards due to the legions of fans he secured during his racing days.
Today his son, David, is looking to make his mark on the racing world. The younger Gilliland was right beside his father for much of his success. In 1997, at the age of 21, he was awarded the NASCAR Winston West Crew Chief of the Year as his father won the series' championship. Gilliland was the youngest person to ever be given the award. That same year Gilliland would strap himself behind the wheel of a stock car for the first time. His dream of becoming a racecar driver was coming to fruition.
"I knew at a very early age that I wanted to drive," said Gilliland. "As soon as I was old enough I started helping my dad. I tried to learn as much as I could. That really helped when I began driving.
After capturing eight wins in the NASCAR Featherlite Southwest Series and wins in two NASCAR West Series events Gilliland found his stock rising fast. But, it was at Irwindale (Calif.) Speedway in November of 2005 where he turned the stock car world on its ear. Gilliland caught the attention of his current car owner, Clay Andrews. It was there that Gilliland bested the top drivers from the NASCAR West, Busch North and AutoZone Elite Series' to grab the hardware from the Toyota All-Star Challenge. This race has rapidly become one of the premiere short track events in the country. This win planted Gilliland firmly on the map.
Andrews, looking to build a future, full-time NASCAR Busch Series effort, tabbed Gilliland as his driver. Their first race together was the Arizona 200 at Phoenix International Raceway on November 12, 2005.
Clay Andrews will be competing on a limited basis this season. This will allow the team to fully prepare for a full-time effort in 2007. It will also allow Gilliland to settle into his new digs in Mooresville, NC. He always knew he would have to make the move to the nerve-center of stock car racing.
"Since I began racing I wanted to move to North Carolina," said Gilliland.
"Up to this point I had never had the right opportunity. When I met Clay I saw how serious he was about this deal. That made my mind up for me."
Andrews has gone to great lengths to make sure Gilliland has everything he needs to be competitive. The team has moved into a state-of-the-art, 28,000 square foot shop and made some great hires in key positions of the team. Veteran crew chief Billy Wilburn will steer the infant crew. Team consultants Cully Barraclough and Jerry Nadeau add a plethora of knowledge and leadership.
"Billy has been through a lot in his career," sounded Gilliland. "Just having him with me boosts my confidence and that means a lot as a driver. Clay has surrounded us with what we need to win. We are beginning to show what we are capable of."
"You can't build a championship team overnight," continued Gilliland. "This is a team sport and it takes time to get the right guys for your team. We have a great core group right now and we are continuing to grow everyday."
There is no doubt that NASCAR has outgrown its southeastern roots and is now a nationwide phenomenon. Many drivers from west of the Mississippi River now dot the starting grid at any given event. Gilliland hopes to place his name beside some other current stock car stars that hail from the Pacific Coast.
"Drivers like Kevin Harvick, Jimmie Johnson and Kurt Busch have opened a lot of eyes to the talent on the West Coast," said Gilliland. "To see the success they have had gives me a fire to continue to work hard because it can happen for me too."