David Gilliland (born on April 1, 1976 in Riverside, California) is a NASCAR driver. He currently drives the #38 Taco Bell Ford Fusion for Front Row Motorsports. He is the son of former Cup and NASCAR Winston West Series driver Butch Gilliland. He is mentored by former Sprint Cup race winner Jerry Nadeau.
NASCAR Regional CareerEdit
In 1996, he began working on his father's AutoZone West Series team. By 1999, Gilliland won the track championship at Perris Auto Speedway (a dirt track). Then, the following year he began a limited season in the NASCAR AutoZone West Series.
In 2003, Gilliland won five races in the NASCAR AutoZone Elite Division, Southwest Series in the #11 Centrifugal Technologies Chevrolet. He finished the season with five top-fives and eight top-tens and a 6th place finish in points.
In 2004, Gilliland announced plans to run the full schedule in the NASCAR AutoZone Elite Division, Southwest Series in the No. 88 Chevrolet for MRG Motorsports and all non-conflicting NASCAR Grand National Division, West Series (now AutoZone West) races. He won his first AutoZone West win at Mesa Marin Raceway, in his home city. He was then NASCAR Grand National Division, West Series Rookie-of-the-Year. He also had two victories in NASCAR AutoZone Elite Division, Southwest Series.
NASCAR National CareerEdit
Gilliland made his first attempt at a major NASCAR race in 2003, at the Las Vegas 350 in the Craftsman Truck Series, but failed to qualify. He announced that Clay Andrews Racing would form in mid-2005. Gilliland made his Busch Series debut at Phoenix, qualifying 28th. However, he was involved with an early crash and finished 43rd. Gilliland made the other Phoenix race later in the year, but had the same result. He was 43rd after ignition troubles. Also, he ran the #15 Billy Ballew Motorsports Chevy at Vegas in the Craftsman Truck Series with a 22nd place finish.
Meanwhile, Gilliland raced in the Grand National Division in 2005 and won the Toyota All-Star Showdown in 2005 when apparent winner Mike Olson was disqualified for light wheels wider than regulation. The win was his biggest of date because it allowed him to be noticed by Busch and Cup owners.
Gilliland began running the #84 Clay Andrews Chevy part-time in 2006, where he drew praise from many veterans, including announcer Darrell Waltrip. Gilliland, however, struggled to finish races, only earning a best of 29th in his first four starts of the year. However, in his next outing, Gilliland scored his first career Busch Series win at Kentucky on June 17. Gilliland drove the 84 Hype Manufacturing Chevrolet to victory, becoming the first driver of 2006 to win a Busch race who was not also running a full-time Nextel Cup schedule. FX television announcer Hermie Sadler called the victory "the biggest upset in Busch Series history".
Sprint Cup SeriesEdit
Gilliland made his first attempt to make a Cup race at Infineon Raceway in Sonoma, CA, in the #72 CJM Racing Chevrolet, qualifying 31st, and finishing 32nd. In August 2006, Gilliland replaced Elliott Sadler as the driver of the M&M's Ford in the NEXTEL Cup Series. On October 7, he qualified on the pole for the UAW Ford 500 at Talladega Superspeedway, the first pole of his career. He won his second career pole at the Daytona 500, his first points-paying race at the track, and finished 28th in NEXTEL Cup points.
Gilliland drove part-time in the Busch Series for Team Rensi Motorsports with sponsorship from FreeCreditReport.com in 2007, splitting the driving duties at Rensi with rookie Richard Johns. His best finish was a tenth at Daytona.
David Gilliland's #38 Ford has finally landed a primary sponsor. At least for the first seven races. FreeCreditReport.com, which currently sponsors David in the Nationwide Series, signed with Gilliland. http://www.nascar.com/2008/news/headlines/cup/02/07/dgilliland.yates.sponsorship/index.html
In January of 2009, his #38 Sprint Cup team closed down due to a lack of sponsorship and his points from 2008 were moved to the #96 team of Bobby Labonte. After missing the Daytona 500, he was signed by TRG Motorsports for the rest of the 2009 season, with sponsorship from Capital Window and American Monster.
On September 4, 2009, Gilliland's future was thrown into question following TRG's announcement that Bobby Labonte would drive the #71 Chevrolet for seven of the final twelve races of the season while Erik Darnell drives the #96 Ford. Gilliland will race five additional times for TRG this season, also driving for Joe Gibbs Racing and Robby Gordon Motorsports (at Richmond, while Gordon runs a Baja road race). He drove for the Wood Brothers (filling in for an injured Bill Elliott) at Atlanta and for Gibbs at Lowe's, Texas, and the season finale at Homestead. At Auto Club Speedway in October, Gilliland relieved an ill Kyle Busch after parking his normal ride. He raced in Phoenix for Phoenix Racing.
He is married to wife Michelle and the couple has two children, Todd and Taylor.