On his last visit to Talladega (Ala.) Superspeedway, David Gilliland was "the pusher." This time, he'd like to be "the pushee."
The driver of the No. 38 Long John Silver's Ford pushed teammate David Ragan to victory on the last lap of the May 5 race at the 2.66-mile track for Front Row Motorsports' first victory. As the team prepares to return to the track for this weekend's Camping World RV Sales 500, Gilliland is confident he can be the one to cross the finish line first for his first Sprint Cup win.
The driver will strap in to the same Ford Fusion that powered him and his teammate to the front of the pack in that stunning May finish. The car also finished 15th at Daytona International Speedway in July.
In his 12 career starts at Talladega, Gilliland has two top-five and three top-10 finishes, and one pole (2006).
Comments from Long John Silver's team driver David Gilliland heading back to Talladega:
"I have a lot of confidence going into Talladega, obviously. David (Ragan) and I didn't have any damage from the previous race, so we're turning those cars around and going back to try to repeat. We obviously had a dream weekend there earlier this year and have a lot of confidence as an organization going back. We know we have a legitimate shot as an organization, as a team and me personally as a driver to be able to get my first win in the Cup series. So, that's what we'll be focused on so we can achieve that.
"Our 1-2 finish in May was huge. I don't think you could have a bigger day at the racetrack as an organization. I'm just really proud to have been a part of it. It was a special day and hopefully we can go back and do it again.
"Like they always say at superspeedways, anything can happen. I've been wrecked out of the race in the opening laps and I've come close to winning a few times. So you've just got to go in with a smart strategy and be prepared to adjust, depending on where you are and where the cautions fall. You've just got to be in position. We were back in ninth or 10th for the green-white-checkered last time at Talladega and our Roush Yates horsepower got us up to the front in those final two laps. That's what it's all about -- just lurking around the doorway for when it finally opens and then barging through."