Coming from a bloodline of racing talent, Todd Gilliland is well on his way to making a name of his own.
The 18-year-old showed veteran-like poise in winning the General Tire 200 ARCA Menards Series race at Talladega Superspeedway on Friday afternoon, holding off a late challenge from second-place finisher Riley Herbst. The last ARCA win for Gilliland came in 2015.
“Man, that was incredible. It was such an amazing race,” said Gilliland, driver of the No. 4 Frontline Enterprises Toyota. “This car was incredible. Nobody could catch me and they were doing all they could. I’m so happy I got to run here, it was kind of last-minute. It’s been a long time since I’ve won and this trophy is amazing.”
Herbst and third-place finisher Brandon Lynn tried to mount a charge in the closing moments of the 76-lap race, but were unable to close the gap as Gilliland earned a .149 second victory. Lynn earned his top-three finish after earning his first career pole earlier Friday afternoon.
Ty Majeski and Michael Self, who sits atop the championship standings, rounded out the top-five.
A pair of cautions for accidents on Laps 41 and 51 bunched up the field and threw race-long strategies into disarray for several teams in an otherwise clean race run by ARCA Menards Series drivers with varying levels of experience at the mammoth venue.
David Gilliland, Todd’s father and co-owner, talked about how much it meant for his son to win at Talladega Superspeedway.
“It’s really special, especially here at Talladega,” David said. “To be a small part of him winning today, it’s really special. My wife, my daughter, my family. We’ve been close here multiple times, but nothing compares to this.”
The tripleheader action continues at NASCAR’s biggest and baddest track on Saturday, starting with NASCAR XFINITY Series qualifying at 9:10 a.m. CDT, followed by the MoneyLion 300 at noon CDT. Monster Energy NASCAR Cup Series qualifying for Sunday’s GEICO 500 follows at 3:40 p.m.
Ticket information for the GEICO 500, the MoneyLion 300 and all Talladega Superspeedway events is available on-line at www.talladegasuperspeedway.com or by calling (855) 518-RACE (7223).