By Seth Eggert, Staff Writer
CONCORD, N.C. – For the first time in his career, Todd Gilliland will compete at a 1.5-mile track. Gilliland will make his first ‘cookie-cutter’ start in the North Carolina Education Lottery 200 at Charlotte Motor Speedway after 18thbirthday earlier this week.
Gilliland will now compete full-time in the NASCAR Camping World Truck Series in the No. 4 Pedigree Toyota Tundra for Kyle Busch Motorsports. In eight career Truck Series starts, the Sherrills Ford, N.C. native has two top-five and four top-10 finishes.
“Any time you get to a race track for the first time like this, it’s pretty intimidating,” Gilliland explained. “Just being able to come out here for probably almost 10 years now, just watching races and dreaming of one day being out here. You watch the Truck Series and also Kyle Busch Motorsports, and there’s no better position that I hope to be in than in this No. 4 truck with them. It was just all about learning like I said and just trying to get up to speed as quickly as possible.”
Despite zero laps in competition, Gilliland did participate in the ARCA Racing Series test at Charlotte last week. The 2016 and 2017 NASCAR K&N Pro Series West Champion has two prior ARCA starts with a win in his debut at Toledo Speedway, and a ninth-place finish at Iowa Speedway.
“I had the opportunity to actually come out here and test an ARCA car last weekend. Just every single lap counts, a lot. I feel like I’m getting more experience every lap. I actually got out behind Noah (Gragson) a little bit and was able to kind of position my truck where I could get the best draft down the straightaway. All those little things like that that I’m going to have to learn and use for many years to come that these guys got a little head start on me, but we just need to come back strong.”
Despite having just two starts so far this season, Gilliland is still ahead of a couple of drivers that have been competing full-time. It is unclear if he would receive a waiver to be eligible for the Playoffs should he win between now and the start of the Playoffs at Canadian Tire Motorsports Park later this year.