Todd Gilliland and Tyler Ankrum checked the first box in last weekend’s return to Richmond Raceway.
The young drivers secured the final two spots in the NASCAR Gander RV & Outdoors Truck Series cutoff race at the .75-mile short track. Now comes the more difficult task—keeping their championship aspirations alive in the postseason.
Gilliland and Ankrum are seeded ninth and 10th, respectively, entering Thursday night’s UNOH 200 Presented by Ohio Logistics (7:30 p.m. ET on FS1, MRN and SiriusXM NASCAR Radio). After the three races in the Round of 10, two drivers will be eliminated. Gilliland and Ankrum face an uphill fight to avoid being the two casualties.
For his part, Gilliland believes the answer lies in finding consistent speed in his No. 38 Front Row Motorsports Ford.
“I think people have noted the speed—we’ve been getting better and better,” Gilliland said during a video conference with reporters on Monday. “We’re not where we want to be week-in and week-out. We’ve kind of been hit-and-miss. There are some weeks, like Gateway, where we were the dominant truck. It’s hard to be that dominant in one of these races nowadays.
“I think if we can find that—and we’ve had glimmers of that every once in a while… we just need to do that more consistently, and I think that’s in the details of the truck, the setup and the notes that we’re building. I think we’re getting better and better every week still.”
Four of the Playoff drivers haven’t won a race in 2020, Gilliland and Ankrum among them. Top seed Sheldon Creed and Richmond winner Grant Enfinger lead the series with three victories each.
Brett Moffitt, the 2018 series champion, is the defending winner of the Bristol race. He and 2016 champion Johnny Sauter, who failed to qualify for the Playoff this year, are the only former winners in Thursday’s event.
TIL NEXT TIME, I AM STILL WORKING ON MY REDNECK!