By Seth Eggert, NASCAR Correspondent
An uneventful night with a top-five finish was just want Todd Gilliland needed to return to form in the NASCAR Gander Outdoors Truck Series.
After several eventful weeks left Gilliland’s No. 4 JBL / SiriusXM with less-than stellar results, he rebounded at Kansas Speedway. On back-to-back restarts in the Digital Ally 250, the Kyle Busch Motorsports driver made bold moves to gain positions.
Gilliland found himself battling three-wide with Ben Rhodes, Matt Crafton, and eventual race winner Ross Chastain. While he held off Crafton, the Sherrills Ford, NC native fell in line behind Chastain, Stewart Friesen, and Rhodes. Gilliland settled in for fourth, before he snagged third when Friesen’s fuel ran out.
“We worked really hard all through practice, got the truck a lot better,” Gilliland explained. “Me and my crew chief, Marcus Richmond, really were on the same page all weekend. That’s what it’s all about is putting together just solid weekends like this.
“We qualified fifth and finished third, that doesn’t sound overly spectacular, but when we have been qualifying in the teens and finishing there too, this is a big difference. Just a big confidence booster and hopefully something we can carry into Charlotte and put our JBL Tundra up front again.”
After he started fifth, Gilliland ran inside the top-10 throughout the 250-mile race. He finished seventh in both stages. The Toyota Racing Development driver had a front row seat as Chastain, Friesen, and Rhodes battled for the victory.
The third-place finish is the first top-five for Gilliland this season and seventh of his career. The top-five finish breaks a streak of three straight Truck Series races in which he had been swept up in late-race incidents.
“We’ve really struggled over the last few weeks, but that is what a team is all about,” Gilliland admitted. “Staying together through everything. It’s definitely the best run we have had in a long time. We just have to try and take this momentum into next week. I think my crew chief and whole team is very excited with the truck we are bringing to Charlotte.”
Although the top-five is a bright spot, Gilliland is still ninth in the championship points standings, 74-points behind points leader Grant Enfinger. He is also nine points behind his teammate, Harrison Burton, who holds the playoff cutoff.