* Gilliland no newcomer to Colorado National Speedway * Three races at CNS - three different winners * Series makes first return to Colorado since 2001 DAYTONA BEACH, Fla. (Oct. 5, 2004) - Although David Gilliland (No.
* Gilliland no newcomer to Colorado National Speedway
* Three races at CNS - three different winners
* Series makes first return to Colorado since 2001
DAYTONA BEACH, Fla. (Oct. 5, 2004) - Although David Gilliland (No. 88 RaceCarCeilingFans.com Chevrolet) is a rookie in the NASCAR Grand National Division, West Series, he is more familiar with Colorado National Speedway than many veteran drivers in the series.
While the West Series has not traveled to CNS since 2001, Gilliland appears to have mastered the 3/8-mile paved oval while competing in the NASCAR AutoZone Elite Division, Southwest Series there. He has finished first or second in all three of his visits to the track just north of Denver - with a win in 2003 and runner-up finishes in 2002 and 2004.
Gilliland hopes his good fortune in the Centennial State continues when the NASCAR Grand National Division, West Series visits Colorado National Speedway for the NAPA 150 on Saturday, Oct. 9.
"We've done really well there. That's for sure," Gilliland acknowledged. He attributes his success at CNS to his experience at two Southern California tracks where he developed his skills in racing - Irwindale Speedway, a paved half-mile oval, and Perris Auto Speedway, an oval track with a dirt surface.
"It's a little like Irwindale," Gilliland said of the Colorado track. "You run up high there. I did anyway. It kind of fits my driving style. I think a lot of it also goes back to dirt. You run up on the cushion in a dirt car. I 'm definitely comfortable running up high, right by the wall. And being comfortable is a big part of going fast."
His most recent visit to CNS, with the Southwest Series in August, should be of particular benefit to him, according to Gilliland. "They repaved it this year and it's totally different than it was last year," said the 28-year-old driver from Riverside, Calif. "I think the experience of racing on that track is going to help a lot when we go there with the West."
In addition to his experience at CNS as a driver in the Southwest Series, Gilliland will be able to draw on his experience as a crew chief in West Series competition there. He worked with his father, Butch Gilliland, who finished fourth there in 1995 and set a one-lap qualifying record in 1996 that still stands. That experience as a crew chief in the West Series has been valuable to his rookie effort, according to Gilliland. "Understanding the race car and being able to communicate with my crew chief Bob (Johns) has helped us a lot," he said. "Understanding the car and doing all the setup stuff on the car has definitely helped."
Gilliland's rookie season has been a successful one. In addition to winning the second race of the season, he has notched five top-five and seven top-10 finishes in 10 races so far in 2004. He has led the charge among a talented field of freshman drivers contending for this year's Auto Meter Rookie of the Year Award and has also been in the top five of the overall championship standings.
Although he is a rookie driver with a team in its first full season in the series, Gilliland said he is not surprised by their success. "(Car owner) Mark (Golembeski) has given us a really good opportunity," Gilliland said. "We've got good equipment and we've got a really good team. You can't do it without any one piece of the puzzle. I feel that we have all the pieces of the puzzle we need. So, I expected to run as well as we have been running."
His season has not been without any problems, however, Gilliland admitted. "We have had a couple of bad races," he said. "Obviously bad luck and stuff happens." Gilliland finished out of the top 10 in those back-to-back events midway through the season. After leading the first 40 laps at Irwindale, a flat tire left him with a 20th-place finish and an altercation on the quarter-mile oval at Stockton led to a 15th-place finish.
NEWS & NOTES
* The race . This event is the 11th of 13 races on the series schedule for 2004.
* The track . Colorado National Speedway is a 3/8-mile paved oval with four degrees of banking in the straights and progressive banking of six to 12 degrees in the corners. The West Series has visited Colorado National Speedway three times, with the most recent in 2001.
* Winning marks . CNS is the only track on this year's West Series schedule where Austin Cameron (No. 16 NAPA/NAPA Belts & Hose Chevrolet) has not finished first or second in his career. The El Cajon, Calif., driver has been to victory lane at six of the nine tracks - including Irwindale, Calif. (1999, 2002, 2004); Monroe, Wash. (2004); Phoenix, Ariz. (2002); Roseburg, Ore. (2002, 2003); Stockton, Calif. (2003, 2004); and West Valley City, Utah (2002, 2004). He has runner-up finishes at two others - Bakersfield, Calif. (2001) and Fontana, Calif. (1998). Cameron finished eighth in his only visit to Colorado in 2001.
* Repeat appearance . Two long-time series veterans - Scott Gaylord (No. 00 Oliver Gravity Separators/Denver Seminary Chevrolet) of nearby Lakewood, Colo., and Jack Sellers (No. 15 Aramark Pontiac) - are the only drivers to compete in all three previous series visits to CNS.
* Three races, three different winners . The three series races at CNS produced three different winners - Mike Chase, Ron Hornaday Jr., and Steve Portenga.
* Three different Bud Pole winners . The three visits to Colorado also produced three different Bud Pole winners - Garrett Evans, Butch Gilliland and Sean Woodside.
* No repeat marks . No driver has finished in the top five in series competition at CNS more than once. The only driver with more than one top-10 finish is Joe Bean.
* Most money . With winnings of $13,250 for his victory in 1996, Ron Hornaday leads competitors in terms of money won in series competition at the Colorado track.
* Running out front . Mike Chase has led the most laps of series competition around the 3/8-mile oval, running out front for 172 laps.
* Different distance . This will mark the first West Series race at CNS of 150 laps in distance. The events in 1995 and 1996 were 200 laps and the 2001 race was 250 laps.
* Stat of the race . A West Series race at Colorado National Speedway has never been won by a front row starter.
* Running out front . Mike Duncan has led the most laps of competition so far in 2004, running out front for 568 circuits. He has led in all but one race this season, the second visit to Stockton.
* Leading the competition . Daryl Harr (No. 71 WestWorld Motorsports Chevrolet) leads the competition in terms of laps completed so far this season. He has run 1,646 of the possible 1,658. His father, Carl Harr (No. 02 WestWorld Motorsports Chevrolet), is second on the list with 1,635 laps completed.
Drivers celebrating a birthday this week include Tim Woods III, who turns 30 on the 11th; and Eric Holmes, who turns 30 on the 12th.
FROM THE ARCHIVES
On Oct. 9, 1983, the late Jim Robinson drove his familiar Hammer Security-sponsored No. 78 Oldsmobile to victory on the Ceasars Palace Circuit road course in Las Vegas. Robinson's margin of victory was five seconds over Bill Schmitt. Robinson edged Schmitt that year for the 1983 championship, his first of three consecutive titles.
What: NAPA 150, NASCAR Grand National Division, West Series Race #11 of 13
Where: Colorado National Speedway, Erie, Colo.
When: 7 p.m., Saturday, Oct. 9.
Track layout: .375-mile paved oval.
Distance: 150 Laps, 56.25 miles.
Posted Awards: $107,872
TV: SPEED Channel
(tape-delay, Dec. 11, Noon ET)
Pre-race schedule: Saturday - Practice, 12-12:45 p.m., 1:15-2 p.m. Qualifying, 4 p.m. Note: All times subject to change.