N News & Results

DAVISON: Gilliland is the Truck Series winner at COTA

Austin, TX, May 22/21 (by John Davison): Todd Gilliland became the first NASCAR driver to take the checkered flag at the Circuit of the Americas (COTA) in winning the NASCAR Camping World Toyota Tundra 225 for his second career victory. Gilliland had won his first Trick Series race at Martinsville in 2019.Austin, TX, May 22/21 (by John Davison): Todd Gilliland became the first NASCAR driver to take the checkered flag at the Circuit of the Americas (COTA) in winning the NASCAR Camping World Toyota Tundra 225 for his second career victory. Gilliland had won his first Trick Series race at Martinsville in 2019.
“I definitely did a lot of stuff wrong but that’s what I love about road course racing, there’s 20 turns here, 20 opportunities to pass but also make mistakes,’’ Gilliland said, thanking his Front Row Motorsports team. “Last year we didn’t quite have the season we knew we could and just to come out here and win early, we’ve been building momentum and for my team to get this win is just amazing.’’
After a rainy morning, the NASCAR Camping World Truck Series race started with rain tires on a damp and drying track, but then light rain beginning at the start made crew chiefs' jobs more difficult.
Grala moved into the lead on the first lap, opening a gap of over a second and a half ahead of Crafton. Creed and Ankrum got back around Creed after a few laps as Grala drove a patient, smooth race, possibly saving tires for the run to the first Stage, and Creed closed to less than a second and a half.
Zane Smith pitted early, just three laps from the end of the first Stage, taking on four new rain tires, followed by Chase Purdy and a couple of others, planning on gaining track position after the Stage end. Creed pitted with two laps left in the Stage while Todd Gilliland, running the fastest truck on the track, set off chasing Grala for the Stage win. Gilliland closed to Grala's bumper, challenging several times approaching the green and white checker to end the Stage. Grala locked a tire and Gilliand moved around but lost the position once, but after running side by side through several turns he got past him for the Stage win. Gilliland, Grala, Ankrum, Crafton and Ben Rhodes were the top five to end Stage One.
Creed led the restart after Gilliland's jack man stepped over the pit wall and into the stall too soon, earning the No. 38 a penalty to start the Stage.
Stage Two ended with the same track position pit stop strategies playing out, with Ben Rhodes taking the Stage win, followed by Crafton, Derek Kraus, Sheldon Creed and Tyler Ankrum.
Creed, Grala, Ankrum, Austin Hill and Gilliland led the field to the start of the final Stage on a drying track, then Parker Kligerman spun and dropped to the back of the field before turning the truck back around and restarting.
The rain stopped late in the second Stage, setting the scene for pit and on-track strategy as drivers drove to save the rain tires and crew chiefs tried to decide when or whether to stop for dry tires.
Ankrum and Gilliland drove side-by-side and swapped the lead several times per lap during the mid-Stage laps until Ankrum drove wide in a turn and onto the painted edge, allowing Gilliland to open the lead by a few lengths. Grala and Creed had a similar battle for third place until he made an outside pass for the position in Turn Two. Creed and Ankrum both suffered from worn out front tires, with Grala passing both to move into second place and start chasing Gilliland for the lead.
Timmy Hill stalled in the middle of the track at Turn Twelve briefly and Chandler Smith beached in the gravel on another turn as Gilliland took the white flag with a lead of over seven seconds ahead of Grala who was still being chased by Ankrum. No yellow was shown and Gilliland went on to take the first NASCAR checkered flag at COTA, followed by Grala, Ankrum, Enfinger and Creed.
The next NCWTS race will be held next Friday, May 28 at the Charlotte Motor Speedway.

-30-

Popular News

top logo 2018

PRN Motorsport Magazine.

For Canadian Race Fans and Racers

Since 1989

Email:

Info@prnmag.com

Phone:

1-800-667-RACE

Social Links