By Seth Eggert, Staff Writer
BRISTOL, Tenn. – Since his 18th birthday, Todd Gilliland has been working his way up the NASCAR Camping World Truck Series Championship Points Standings. The UNOH 200 at Bristol Motor Speedway is the last chance that Gilliland has earn a victory and make the 2018 Playoffs.
The Kyle Busch Motorsports driver received a waiver to be eligible to make the Playoffs, after missing four races because of his age. Gilliland has climbed up to 12thin the Points Standings, ahead of seven other full-time competitors. However, he is 134-points behind the cutoff, and only a win can guarantee him a coveted spot in the Playoff grid.
Gilliland has three starts at Bristol in the NASCAR K&N Pro Series East. His worst finish in the three starts is ninth in 2016. Gilliland won earlier this year, leading 64 of the 150 laps.
“I think before the K&N race I didn’t have much confidence going in there, but then after going there in the spring time with my same team, a little different race car, but I have all the confidence in the world in them that we can do it again,” Gilliland explained about Bristol. “It goes really fast. You don’t have much time to think about anything and that’s the biggest thing is kind of go out and do it instead of a place like Michigan, or Pocono, where you have so much time to think about the things that can go wrong.”
So far this season, KBM has won three of the 15 races in the Truck Series. The team has won 11 of the 30 Stages so far this season. Gilliland has just one stage win, at Pocono Raceway, while his teammate Noah Gragson has won seven stages.
“I feel like everyone at Kyle Busch Motorsports (KBM) brings such fast trucks everywhere that we’ve had a chance to win every week when we show up to the race track,” Gilliland said. “I do have confidence in myself there being a short track, but as far as the truck goes I think we have a chance to win every week.”
In the Sunoco Rookie of the Year Points Standings, Gilliland is 32-points behind fellow rookie competitor Myatt Snider. Currently there are no rookies in the 2018 Truck Series Playoffs.
Now Gilliland will look to use his previous experience at Bristol to attempt to make the Truck Series Playoffs for the first time.