A 17th-place lead-lap finish at one of the toughest tracks on the schedule is proof of just how far David Gilliland's No. 38 team has come this season. Sunday's top-20 finish at Atlanta (Ga.) Motor Speedway was the team's fifth of the season, already matching last year's total with 11 races still to go.
The team carries confidence headed into this weekend's Federated Auto Parts 400 at Richmond (Va.) International Raceway, a type of track where the No. 38 team has improved this season. Saturday night's race will be Gilliland's 15th Sprint Cup career start at the three-quarter-mile oval. His best finish is 18th (2008).
Comments from Long John Silver's team driver David Gilliland heading to Richmond:
"I'm really proud of the progress we've made this year. Our Atlanta race showed how far we've come. We're racing against more competitive cars this year, up in the field where we weren't competitive in years past. I'm really proud of Frank Kerr and the guys, and I think we're just continuing to get even better. I think we can rack up a few more really good finishes in these final 10 or 11 races.
"I thought Richmond went well for us last time. And Phoenix was really strong for us this year. Even though we blew a tire there, we ran really well. So we've learned a lot from those two races that we can take with us this weekend. We've updated our braking package, which is crucial, obviously, at a place like Richmond. So, we're looking forward to going there and having our brakes where we think they need to be, and taking what we learned from Richmond last time and Phoenix as well and putting it to work.
"We feel very confident now. Those styles of racetrack were a challenge for us last year and I feel like we made some great improvements this year. I can't wait to go and take what we've learned and put it to the test.
"It's an exciting race being under the lights on a Saturday night. I love night races. With all the Chase drama that will be going on, it's definitely going to be a fun race for the fans. Richmond's a short track, and most of us came from short-track racing obviously. It's a racetrack that drivers like to go to and I think we'll put on a good show."