Gilliland Earns Top-25 at Texas in Love’s Ford

David Gilliland, No. 38 Love’s Travel Stops Ford
Starting Position: 39
Finishing Position: 22

David Gilliland and the Love’s Travel Stops team tied their best showing of the season Monday with a 22nd-place finish in the rain-postponed Duck Commander 500.

The 501-mile race at Texas Motor Speedway was washed out by steady rain all day Sunday, so NASCAR waved the green flag midday Monday. Gilliland started 39th in his No. 38 Ford Fusion, as NASCAR ran the first 10 laps under a yellow flag so the 43 cars could help finish drying the still-damp track.

When the field went full green on Lap 11, the Love’s Ford took off in a hurry. By Lap 50, Gilliland had surged 14 spots to 25th. After his first pit stop for fresh tires, Gilliland continued his climb up to 19th. Once he got up to that top-20 mark, he stuck around there all day, getting help from fast pit stops.

The race went into overtime when the caution flag waved on Lap 334 for debris on the track, setting up a green-white-checkered finish. Gilliland took the green in 23rd and gained one more position to take the checkers in 22nd. The top-25 finish boosted him two spots in the point standings.

Comments from Love’s Travel Stops team driver David Gilliland after the Texas race:

“That was probably one of the best if not the best car we’ve ever brought to a mile-and-a-half track. The guys did a great job all weekend, and our pit crew was on it all day long, gaining us some spots on pit road. We’ve had some really good cars and really good runs this year, but have had some stuff happen a few times that kept us from getting the finish we should’ve gotten. But this was a day where everything came together and we got a finish that reflected the effort and the car. So, it was a good day for our Love’s Travel Stops Ford team.”

 

David Ragan, No. 34 Taco Bell Ford
Starting Position: 43
Finishing Position: 35

David Ragan started Monday’s race in a back-up car after a practice incident damaged the front end of the primary Taco Bell Ford. Taking the green flag in 43rd, the driver knew his team had some ground to gain.

But the back-up No. 34 Ford Fusion, without as much practice time as other cars, would prove to be a bit of a handful. Throughout the race, the Taco Bell crew made adjustments that helped Ragan navigate the 1.5-mile track better. But with only six caution flags after the race went green, the field got strung out over green-flag runs, bringing few opportunities to pass.

Ragan was in 35th when the final caution of the day came out, setting up a green-white-checkered finish. The Taco Bell Ford was low on fuel and Ragan had to go into fuel-conservation mode to make sure he made it to the end. His efforts were successful and he crossed the finish in 35th.

Comments from Taco Bell team driver David Ragan after the Texas race:

“That was a long day here in Texas. We didn’t start out in the best of situations, having to go to a back-up car after our off-road incident on Friday. But the guys worked hard to get it ready and we made some good adjustments as the day went on. There weren’t a ton of cautions and not a lot of cars on the lead lap, so we just worked on racing the cars we could race.”

 

David Reutimann, No. 35 MDS Transport Ford
Starting Position: 34
Finishing Position: 38

Front Row Motorsports earned a third starting position in Monday’s race field with David Reutimann qualifying the MDS Transport Ford for the event. The No. 35 team started the damp and dreary race day in 34th.

Reutimann’s Ford Fusion seemed to take on the mood of the Fort Worth weather, becoming disagreeable as the laps ticked off. And even though the sun came out about half-way through the race, the team still fought the car’s temperament for the rest of the day, with a loose condition being Reutimann’s biggest concern.

The handling issues had the No. 35 team as far back as 40th around the half-way mark. They were able to gain two more positions to finish the day in 38th.

Comments from MDS Transport team driver David Reutimann after the Texas race:

“Boy, that was kind of a long day. The car just never really felt like the rear was in the racetrack, and it’s tough to get around a track like Texas without that rear grip. But, I’m proud of the team for getting the car in the show and getting the chance to run the race. We’re learning each time and hopefully getting better for it.”