David Gilliland, No. 38 Long John Silver’s Ford
Starting Position: 16
Finishing Position: 22
David Gilliland earned a top-25 finish and a boost in points in a long, soggy day at Bristol Motor Speedway.
The start of Sunday’s Food City 500 was delayed a couple hours by rainy weather, and when it finally got started, everyone knew there was more rain on the way.
The No. 38 Long John Silver’s Ford started 16th, and Gilliland found some speed once the field got going. By Lap 24, he had raced his way into the top 10.
When the next wave of rain came, Gilliland’s car had tightened up a bit, dropping him back to 19th as the yellow flag, and then the red, came out for another weather delay.
Three hours later, when the race finally restarted, the track was cleaned off, damp and cold, and the Long John’s Silver Ford got tighter and tighter as the remaining laps wore on. But the team battled with every opportunity to make adjustments. Despite being as far back as 30th on Lap 285, Gilliland kept pecking away at the leaderboard to work his way up to 22nd at the finish — enough to bump him up two spots in the point standings.
Comments from Long John Silver’s team driver David Gilliland after the Bristol race:
“Looking at the big picture, that wasn’t a bad finish for us. We knew we had a good car at the start of the race, and we know we’re capable of more than what we came away with. But our car just kept getting tighter, no matter what we did. But we gained some spots at the end, had a pretty clean car at the end of the day, and it helped us in the points a little.”
It was a long day at Bristol Motor Speedway, thanks to two lengthy rain delays — one at the start and another in the middle. And it was a bit of a long day on the track as well for David Ragan and the No. 34 Dockside Logistics team.
The team started 19th after a solid qualifying run, but Ragan fell back in the field in the early laps as he reported his car was tight through the turns. Then, on Lap 53, things got worse when he was hit on pit road by the No. 24 of Jeff Gordon, who exited his pit just as Ragan was pulling into his adjacent stall. The damage required numerous additional stops for repairs.
When the red flag came out for rain on Lap 125, Ragan was in 29th with plenty of laps still to be run before the race could be ruled official. But the post-rain portion of the race held another setback in store for the team. On Lap 333, the No. 95 of Michael McDowell squeezed Ragan up into the wall, causing the No. 34 to spin down the front stretch. The incident put the No. 34 back to 37th.
The team still had some time to regain some ground. With a still tight-handling car for the remainder of the race, Ragan picked up six more positions to finish in 31st.
Comments from Dockside Logistics team driver David Ragan after the Bristol race:
“This has been a bit of a rough start for us these first four races. We thought Bristol could be a good place to turn our luck around, and it looked to be that way when we qualified in the top 20. But we had some things happen that were out of our control, getting knocked around by some other cars, and the weather affecting the racetrack. We need to regroup and have a good week in California.”