Is Todd Gilliland a Dark Horse for the Truck Series Championship?

Credit: Lisa Janine Cloud for Skirts and Scuffs

Todd Gilliland is preparing for the Gander RV & Outdoors Truck Series Playoffs for the first time in his career. The series Playoffs kick off this Thursday at Bristol Motor Speedway, where Gilliland has earned one top-five finish and two top 10s in two starts at the half-mile track.

The series Media Day was held on Mon. Sept. 14th via Zoom, where the 10-driver Playoff field shared their thoughts on the upcoming battle for the 2020 season championship.

Several drivers, including Playoffs point standings leader Sheldon Creed, listed Gilliland as an underdog who can be a potential threat for this year’s title.
“Todd Gilliland, probably,” Creed said, “I know he’s ninth or tenth right now. I haven’t seen the points. I can see him being and having speed and getting a race win here in the playoffs, but it’ll get him to the next round, so I can see him being an underdog.”

“Just as they come to the racetrack and they hit it right and a few of us miss it, that’s all it takes for them to transfer into the next round, and it puts someone that maybe has points and hasn’t won out.”

Is Gilliland a favorable dark horse, and can he make his case to be a serious championship threat throughout the seven-race playoff run into Phoenix in November?

The Front Row Motorsports driver has three top-five finishes and six top 10s among the tracks that are inside the Round of 10. He earned himself a win almost one year ago at Martinsville, which is the cutoff race in the second round of the Playoffs.

If the 20-year-old driver can find Victory Lane early in the playoffs and avoid trouble at wild card tracks like Talladega, he can easily find himself in the hunt for his first career title. If he were to succeed, it would also be the first title for Front Row Motorsports in the top-three NASCAR divisions.

“He’s got to get the confidence and everything rolling,” said defending series champion, Matt Crafton. “He was really really fast at St. Louis, and St. Louis reminds me a lot of Phoenix, so if Todd can make it to Phoenix, he can definitely be one of the ones that race for the championship.” 

Gilliland thinks people have noticed the advances his team has made to be a contender in this year’s title hunt. He has nine top-10 finishes this season, with three of them coming in the last nine races.

“I think people have noticed the speed we’ve been getting better and better,” Gilliland said, “We’ve kind of been hit and miss, but there’s been some weeks, say Gateway, 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, so we just need to do that more consistently.” 
Is Todd Gilliland a Dark Horse for the Truck Series Championship?  Is Todd Gilliland a Dark Horse for the Truck Series Championship? Reviewed by Courtney Horn on Tuesday, September 15, 2020 Rating: 5