Gill Still Getting It Done Veteran grabs fourth title, six years after last Myrtle Beach, S.C.-A lot has been said about Bobby Gill over the years, some good, some bad. If you mention his name among racing aficionados, one will undoubtedly use...
Gill Still Getting It Done
Veteran grabs fourth title, six years after last
Myrtle Beach, S.C.-A lot has been said about Bobby Gill over the years, some good, some bad. If you mention his name among racing aficionados, one will undoubtedly use the words "best ever" to describe the Pro Cup veteran. Mention his name among a group of reporters and not too many niceties will be thrown around. But Gill could care less about either opinion.
He is what he is-a racer, period.
He judges himself solely on his last race. And, considering he won the season-finale Aaron's 250 and his series-high fourth title, Gill probably holds himself in high regard right now.
But his return to Pro Cup prominence wasn't an easy ride.
After winning three-straight titles (1999-2001), Gill suffered through some tumultuous times over the next few years. Sure, he won races, but titles were hard to come by-and sponsors were even harder to find.
"I wasn't sure if I was ever going to win another title," said Gill, who will turn 50 in June. "The series has gotten so competitive and, with all the kids coming in, it's tough for somebody like me to keep a ride."
In 2003, Gill finished a career-worst ninth in the Southern Division standings. In 2004, Gill continued to run for is own team, Bobby Gill Racing, but, without a sponsor, he wasn't going to be able to complete the season.
Things got so bad during the 2004 season that Gill sold his hauler just to keep racing and borrowed a small trailer from Clay Rogers to get to the races.
While other teams pushed their cars around during the day, Gill, with limited help, usually drove his car off the borrowed trailer and into the tech line.
But in typical Gill fashion, he kept winning. All told, Gill won three times in the first seven races, proving that he still had the will to win, regardless of the circumstances. His successes in the face of adversity caught the eye of Lamb & Robinson Motorsports, a second-year Pro Cup team.
"[After a few years], we need to make some changes on this team," said Jamie Mosley, crew chief and son of team owner James Mosley, "so we got Bob."
Many thought the pairing wouldn't last, given Gill's sometimes-curt demeanor. But wins have a way of holding even strained relationships together. In their first outing, Gill won at Peach State (Ga.) Speedway and closed the season by winning at USA Int'l (Fla.) Speedway.
"What can you say about Bob? He's hard to deal with, and we argue about stuff," said Mosley. "But he's been doing this stuff a long time, so he's a hard guy to argue with. When he says he needs something, you better put it in the car."
In 2005 and 2006, the team continued to win races and finished fourth and third in the Southern Division points, respectively. Though Gill came up shy of his fourth title, the team finished the 2006 season by winning the season finale and carried the momentum into this year.
With three podium finishes in the first three races, Gill was second in Southern Division points and looked to be a favorite for the title. But, once again, Gill had to overcome obstacles.
The veteran averaged a 19.8 finish over the next five races and dropped to fifth in the standings. A top-five finish at Bristol (Tenn.) Motor Speedway stopped the bleeding and pushed the team to the No. 3 seed heading into the Championship Series.
It looked like the rekindled momentum stalled when Gill qualified 29th for the opening race of the Championship Series, but he knifed his way into the top five just after the halfway mark, slid around Gary St. Amant for the lead on Lap 171 and led to the finish of the Charlie Campbell Memorial Sears Auto Center 250 at Mansfield (Ohio) Motorsports Park.
"It was important for us to get off to a good start in the Championship Series," Gill said after the win. "But we should have won about four races this year already."
Gill moved to second in the overall standings after the win and took the points lead with a sixth-place finish at Iowa Speedway. Subsequent finishes of 11th and fourth extended Gill's lead to 80 points heading into the final race of the Championship Series.
Needing to finish 15th or better, Gill proved he still had a knack for dramatics, racing door-to-door for the win and throwing caution to the wind. One bobble could have cost him the title, but that didn't matter. "All I was thinking about was winning the race," said Gill.
He did, beating Trevor Bayne by .291 seconds and wrapping up his fourth title.
Though it was six years since Gill held the championship trophy, he wasn't sure what it meant to him, simply saying, "It ain't sunk in yet."
Mosley was also at a loss for words, but the jubilation was evident.
"I just don't what to say," said Mosley. "Bob does a great job for us. He's a legend."
And a racer.