STATESVILLE, N.C. (July 4, 2014) – David Gilliland earned Front Row Motorsports its first NASCAR Sprint Cup Series pole position in team history Friday at Daytona International Speedway. Gilliland’s Love’s Travel Stops Ford turned the fastest lap of the field during the rain-shortened qualifying session for Saturday’s Coke Zero 400, recording a lap time of 45.153 seconds at a speed of 199.322 miles per hour.
Gilliland and teammate David Ragan charged out early in the first round of knockout qualifying, a 25-minute session that was supposed to pare the field down to the top 24 to advance to the second session. After locking in with different packs of cars over the course of the session, Gilliland and Ragan both moved up into the top 10 with about 15 minutes remaining, with Gilliland at the top of the leaderboard. When the clock counted down on the end of the session, the No. 38 Ford Fusion was still sitting in the top spot and Ragan’s No. 34 Farm Rich Ford was in eighth.
Rain began to fall during the five-minute break between sessions, and after several minutes NASCAR declared qualifying complete with the field to be set by the first round’s results. The official call gave Gilliland his third career pole and first for Bob Jenkins’ Sprint Cup team. Ragan qualified eighth, giving the team two cars in the top-10 for the start of Saturday’s race.
“I think at Front Row Motorsports, our strong point is definitely speedway racing,” Gilliland told the media after earning the pole. “It is something that is circled on our calendar from the start of the year. We put a lot of emphasis on it. David Ragan and I both have cars good enough to win tomorrow and that is an exciting feeling.
“I am really proud to have Love’s Travel Stops starting on the pole with me. Our ‘Support Our Military’ camo paint job is very special. We had active military and the veterans on our race team sign the hood, and some Medal of Honor recipients signed it this morning. I think that is the secret to the extra speed in the car.
“Bob Jenkins, our car owner, pours his heart and soul into our team and I know he is proud and excited. Things like this go a long way for an organization like ours, and I am proud to be a part of it.”
Gilliland’s pole award makes him eligible to compete in the 2015 Sprint Unlimited, the exhibition race that kicks off the Sprint Cup Series season in February in Daytona Beach, featuring the previous year’s pole winners.
The Coke Zero 400 runs Saturday night, with coverage beginning at 7:30 p.m. ET on TNT. Gilliland will lead the field to the green flag, scheduled for 7:57 p.m.