NASCAR Truck: Todd Gilliland joins Kyle Busch Motorsports for partial schedule
By AMANDA VINCENT
Todd Gilliland, the 2016 NASCAR K&N Pro Series West champion, has signed on to drive the No. 51 Kyle Busch Motorsports Toyota in four NASCAR Camping World Truck Series races in 2017 — the June 17 race at Gateway Motorsports Park in Madison, Ill.; the Sept. 3 road-course race a Canadian Tire Motorsports Park in Bowmanville, Ontario, Canada; at New Hampshire Motor Speedway in Loudon and at Phoenix International Raceway on Nov. 3.
“I’m very excited for the opportunity to race in the Truck Series for KBM next year, and it wouldn’t be possible without the support of everyone at Toyota and TRD (Toyota Racing Development),” Gilliland said. “Moving up into the top levels of NASCAR is going to be a learning experience, but I know that I’m getting behind the wheel of fast Tundras,a nd with the staff that they have in place at KBM and the knowledge that Kyle (Busch, team owner) can pass along, I’m going to learn a lot and continue to grow as a driver.”
In the 14 races that made up his K&N West championship seeason of 2-16, Gilliland claimed six wins and finished in the top-10 in all 14. He also won in his series debut in 2015, his lone K&N race of the year. Gilliland also ran five K&N Pro Series East races in 2016, winning once, and finishing in the top-10 in all five races. In addition to running the full K&N West schedule in 2016, Gilliland also raced a Super Late Model for KBM.
“Todd joined the driver line-up for our Super Late Model program this year, and we liked what we saw with his competitive nature and strong work ethic, so we are looking forward to seeing him move up to the Truck Series program for 2017 and getting behind the wheel of our Tundras for four races,” Busch said. “He proved by winning several races in the K&N Series, both East and West, and the West Series championship that he has the talent to succeed in bigger stock cars, and he deserves a chance to compete at higher levels next season.”
As a 16-year-old, Gilliland will only be allowed by NASCAR to run Truck Series races at ovals 1.25 miles or less in length and on road courses. He’ll be under those limits until he turns 18 on May 15, 2018. He will be unable to compete anywhere in NASCAR’s other two national series — Xfinity and Monster Energy NASCAR Cup — until he turns 18.