IRWINDALE, Calif. (July 20, 2014)- Following a wild race during Saturday’s “Family Night at the Races” at Irwindale Speedway, 14-year old Todd Gilliland exercised a great combination of speed and patience to take third during the event.
With World Stage Racing fielding three entries for the famed Gilliland family, anticipation was high for the event at the revitalized circuit. With Irwindale Speedway falling in to a rough few years of management change, Saturday’s race in many ways marked the return of the facility, which has housed a number of classic events including the NASCAR Toyota All-Star Showdown, a number of USAC events, and the acting U.S. home for the drift racing movement.
One of the most noted names to materialize out of the Southern California track is the Gilliland name. Starting with grandfather Butch, a part-time NASCAR racer who achieved some success in the 1990’s, a family tradition of racing at the 3/8 mile circuit was born. Most noted is Butch’s son, David, who currently campaigns in the NASCAR Sprint Cup Series. David, a two-time pole winner, including the Daytona 500, has been part of the Sprint Cup scene since 2007 and currently drives for the Talladega winning Front Row Motorsports.
David’s son, Todd, is currently an active racer in the Southeast, making his debut at Irwindale this weekend as sort of a family return to their roots.
When the green flag fell, driver Jason Patison was off to a strong start, however David Gilliland was instantly on the assault as he moved up from his seventh place starting position. As the laps continued, Gilliland was in pursuit, gaining position after position, and getting up to third by lap 30.
Unfortunately, as a caution came out for an incident, David’s race took an instant turn for the worse when a competitor would clip his right rear from behind, spinning the NASCAR driver head on into the outside wall and ending his day. David would walk away uninjured, but sadly he would have to walk away from the race.
With the race resuming, the inexperience of the 14 year-old Todd never showed, as the North Carolina resident simply bided his time and preserved his equipment, slowly gaining spots as the race wore on, ultimately taking the checkered flag in third.
Meanwhile “Grandpa” Butch would survive a relative quiet day to take fifth, marking a strong day for the majority of the family.
Todd’s result was unmistakably the highlight for the majority of the fans, aware of their witnessing the beginning of a new generation’s arrival.