Gilliland Outguns Veterans for First CARS LMSC Winby Jason Beck March 29, 2015 0 comments
Photo Credit: CARS Tour
By: Jason Beck
KENLY, NC – A late-race restart allowed 14-year-old, Todd Gilliland to score an upset win over a field of veterans to win the inaugural CARS Late Model Stock Car Series race at Southern National Motorsports Park.
Gilliland, the son of NASCAR Sprint Cup Series driver, David Gilliland, used a bump-and-run move on former track champion, Deac McCaskill with three circuits remaining to score the victory in the 150-lap race. It was Gilliland’s first late model stock car victory.
McCaskill, of Raleigh, N.C., qualified first in the 35-car field and managed to lead 146 laps, but a series of caution flags in the closing stages of the race provided the opportunity for Gilliland to make his move.
“I wasn’t going to be able to catch him (without the restarts), and I wasn’t so sure I was going to catch him even with the restarts,” said Gilliland in victory lane. “I had to keep my tires warm and get a really good restart – I did that, he made the littlest mistake, and I capitalized and used the bumper.”
The bump was enough to move McCaskill’s No. 08 up the racetrack and allow a pass without causing a crash. McCaskill finished second and wasn’t angry with the young winner.
“Every caution we had I just kept losing rear grip,” McCaskill said. “I spun the rear tires off of turn two, and he got a good run on me and picked me up at the back gate and got under me. He did what he had to do … I hit him back, and he held on to it. No hard feelings.”
Gilliland’s first win comes against a stout field. In addition to McCaskill, former Southern National champions, Jamie Caudill and Tommy Lemons Jr. ran inside the top five for most of the race.
But it was beating McCaskill that was the bright spot for Gilliland.
“It’s a really big deal after he led that whole race and was so dominant,” he said. “I’m so happy with my team and everyone … we worked so hard over the winter, and we all did this together.”
The win led to an emotional victory lane scene for one excited father. David Gilliand made the trip from Martinsville Speedway in Virginia to watch his son race.
“I couldn’t be more proud; he did a great job and drove a great race – our plan was to conserve and be there at the end,” the NASCAR veteran said. “He has been so close so many times, and to get his first win here. That’s what you want to do – you want to beat the best when you can.”