By Luis Torres, Staff Writer
Who would’ve thought something like capturing audio gold would result of breaking the racing internet in a span of minutes.
If you haven’t realized by now, Todd Gilliland finally captured that elusive NASCAR Gander Outdoors Truck Series victory in Saturday’s NASCAR Hall of Fame 200 at Martinsville Speedway.
However, it was seconds after bringing his No. 4 Mobil 1 Toyota Tundra home to P1 that caught mine and everyone else’s eyes that nobody couldn’t resist sharing it.
— Luis Torres (@TheLTFiles) October 26, 2019
How it personally led to hearing Gilliland’s radio comments was simple.
After listening to the scanner of drivers such as Matt Crafton and Natalie Decker throughout the race, I tuned into Gilliland’s during overtime right as FS1’s feed of the race was lost and quickly jumped to Oklahoma State vs. Iowa State like nothing happened.
That technical disaster is a whole different story and let me tell you, I was laughing hysterically because of course it would be Fox Sports. People on social media were vocal about Fox Sports’ NASCAR coverage taking another L, but it’s not surprising at this rate.
Anyways, I wanted to hear Gilliland’s radio because he was the race leader. If he were to hang on and win, how can you not hear the possible jubilation of this young man?
You know the rest, Gilliland held off Ross Chastain to finally win a Truck Series race in his 46th career start.
Gilliland was beyond ecstatic that he won and immediately said something about Kyle Busch that left me stunned because it came out of nowhere.
“You guys are the best! Kyle Busch, you can stay in your fucking motor home,” Gilliland’s radio communication after winning.
Nobody brought it up on Twitter, so I listened back to the audio to double check. Lo and behold, it’s exactly what I heard. I transcribed the tweet and people doubting my tweet. Somebody called me a “jack ass,” which led to me sharing Gilliland’s comments.
Hesitantly, finding and sharing the dirty work is part of the game. Journalist do that kind of thing from time-to-time.
It was at that point when I showed the proof where everything went bananas for a Pacific Northwest guy like me, who loves covering racing and take photos for this website that’s given me the chance to grow.
I’ve never had that raw feeling of a post on Twitter going crazy viral where everyone around the NASCAR community felt the buzz. All for a Truck Series race?
Not even covering last year’s K&N West race at Meridian when Hailie Deegan won had this type of buzz. Right now, it feels super weird seeing the reactions out of everyone because I’m not used to it in my young career.
Enough of my viewpoint, let’s dive back to the bigger picture. I totally get Gilliland’s remarks towards Busch.
He’s been frustrated after failing to make the playoffs for the second straight season. I understood the passion of getting your first win but when you think about it, the 19-year-old kid had every right to feel that way about Busch.
Several months ago, Busch was extremely vocal about both Gilliland and Harrison Burton, who will move up to the Xfinity Series full-time next season. Busch demands perfect from his team as Kyle Busch Motorsports have been the top-dogs this season.
When you have a guy like Greg Biffle, who haven’t raced a Truck Series event since 2001, win in his NASCAR return, Christian Eckes winning three poles, and Chandler Smith smoking them. That’s gotta be embarrassing to say the least. I know that boils down of having Rudy Fugle as your crew chief of the No. 51 truck.
Gilliland and Burton doesn’t get to feel Fugle’s power, but you cannot deny their efforts.
At the same time, KBM has struggled and Busch is far from satisfied — he’s a win or bust kind of guy.
Isn’t it not obvious why his drivers have been genuinely frustrated all across the board. Even Noah Gragson felt more alive leaving KBM and drive for JR Motorsports in the Xfinity Series. There’s definitely a bad vibe around the KBM camp.
During the post-race press conference, The Athletic’s Jordan Bianchi asked about the radio comments with Gilliland saying it was a heat of the moment remark, but knows what Busch had previously mentioned throughout the year.
“Just a lot of emotions. Everyone has heard what he (Kyle) said and obviously it’s true, we should’ve been running better,” Gilliland said. “I’ve wanted to win for the last year and a half as well. I’m doing all I can and the guys at the shop are. It was pretty much just heat of the moment.
“Probably wish I didn’t say it now, but it is what it is. He said some stuff about me and it is what it is.”
Instead of being pissed at Gilliland for saying those heat of the moment remarks, understand what led up to this situation.
You want personalities in NASCAR? This was it for Gilliland! I loved it as did thousands of people.
However, let’s not totally ignore Gilliland’s long-awaited triumph. Come hell or high water, he earned that win by beating the best like Chastain, who’s going for a championship, to get to the top. It didn’t matter if a driver is in the playoffs or not, Gilliland is a man on a mission.
“I don’t care. They’ve got more to lose than me,” Gilliland said. “My spotter said third or 30th doesn’t matter to us, we want that checkered flag and the grandfather clock. This is so exciting for me. These guys, all my team, work so hard. It takes a lot to be able to win one of these races and we’ve seen that with me personally. Just for them to get a win and hopefully boost some morale in the whole shop a little bit is going to be really cool.”
The monkey is off his back and hopes on finishing the season strong that could pay dividends as his future in the sport is a big question mark.
Just for one day though, he’s the man of the hour for two things. Not many people can say that.
As for myself, I’ll keep on living and find the news somewhere and back it up when nobody else notices.