FORD FAST FACTS – Las Vegas
• There are 11 Fords participating in the 14th Annual Kobalt Tools 400 at Las Vegas Motor Speedway Sunday.
• All 11 Fords are guaranteed a spot in Sunday’s race.
• Ford has six all-time NSCS wins at Las Vegas, the most of any manufacturer.
• The last Ford NSCS win at LVMS came in 2008 with Carl Edwards.
• Ford driver Matt Kenseth owns the record for being the deepest in the field to start a race at LVMS and win, starting 25th and taking the checkers in 2004.
• Kenseth has the most wins by an active Ford driver at LVMS with two, winning back-to-back in 2003 and 2004.
David Gilliland currently stands 10th in the updated points standings heading into Sunday’s Kobalt Tools 400 at Las Vegas Motor Speedway. Gilliland has used a third place finish at Daytona and 22nd place finish last weekend at Phoenix for 63 points, 17 points behind leader Kyle Busch. Gilliland meet with media members Friday to discuss his start to the 2011 campaign.
DAVID GILLILAND – No. 34 Taco Bell Ford Fusion – DAVID, TALK ABOUT YOUR FAST START AND I ALSO UNDERSTAND YOU HAVE SOME NEWS ON THE SPONSORSHIP FRONT YOU WOULD LIKE TO SHARE. “Yeah, it is so far so good this year. Front Row Motorsports is definitely off to a better start than last year. We have a TM1 back as an associate sponsor for the second week and they are going to be a co-primary in two weeks at Bristol. We are excited to have those guys on board. They are one of the fastest growing companies in the heartland and they do a great job and we are happy to have them on board. I am really excited with everything we have accomplished so far and I feel real good about this weekend. Before we went to Daytona, this was the race that I was really looking forward to as far as our cars and motors and everything else. I feel like this can be a really good weekend for us.”
HOW HAS THE ATTENTION YOU ARE GETTING FOR YOUR START TO THE SEASON BENEFITTED YOUR PROGRAM? “It has been great. I think that NASCAR as a whole is off to a great start and that is exciting not just for NASCAR as a whole but for teams like us. We have had a lot of interest in sponsorship and our phone has actually been rigning and that is a good thing. Hopefully that will help build our program and help us be more competitive each week. The buzz about NASCAR right now everywhere you go and everyone you talk to is up and it is exciting to be a part of it.”
YOU WERE OUT IN THE DUNES IN CALIFORNIA MESSING AROUND THIS WEEK. HAVE YOU EVER BEEN OUT THERE AND ASK YOUR SELF WHAT THE HECK YOU ARE DOING OUT THERE? “Yeah, it is wild out there. It is definitely an adrenaline rush. My car has a thousand horsepower, is a twin-turbo and weights about 2,600 pounds, so it is fast. It is like strapping yourself onto a rocket ship out there. It is fun. We jump a lot and I’ve probably jumped mine close to 180 feet and probably 30 feet in the air. You definitely don’t want to come up short. I think out there the motto is that you want to long.”
DO YOU DO THIS WITH PASSENGERS AND IF SO, WHAT IS THEIR REACTION? “It depends. Usually they are scared and white. My car is a four-seater and a lot of fun. You can go out there and have fun and it is a lot of the same rush you get driving on the track. There is really no pressure and no rules and you can go out there at night and sit by the camp fire and it is quiet and you can watch the stars. It is a fun, relaxing time. I use it to go out and unwind.”
DAVID GILLILAND CONTINUED DOES YOUR WIFE RIDE ALONG? “Yeah, my wife sits in the passenger seat and tells me to slow down and my kids are seven and 10-years old and they sit in the back and tell me to go faster. I usually get confused, but my kids tend to overrule.”
WHY ARE YOU SO EXCITED ABOUT THIS WEEKEND AND WHERE DO YOU ENVISION YOUR TEAM IN FIVE TO 10 WEEKS? “Our goal at the beginning of the year was to stay in the top-20 in points and that is what our goals still are and if we can stay in the top-10 that would be a bonus. I feel like the cars we purchased from RPM and our motor package lend itself to these types of tracks. These are the tracks I enjoy racing the most at as well. I feel like our motor program and the cars we have are so much better than last year and these are the tracks we ran best at last year that hopefully we will see big improvement at these tracks.”
LOOKING AHEAD TO CALIFORNIA WHAT ARE YOUR THOUGHTS GOING BACK HOME TO THAT TRACK? “That track is about five or six miles from where I lived before I moved to North Carolina and I did all my racing there. We have a lot of friends and family that goes to that track and it is important for us to run well there. We have struggled a bit in the past there, but like I said, I am reenergized about our program and I feel like I am looking forward to going there for sure. Our competition director has ran really good there in the past and has really good ideas. The biggest thing is how much better our motors and cars are this year. I feel like we have a good chance there.”
IN ADDITION TO NEW EQUIPMENT, IS THERE ANYTHING IN PARTICULAR THAT WILL ALLOW YOU TO BE A TOP-20 TEAM THIS YEAR? “Yeah, I think working with Peter Suspenzo, we got to start building that relationship at the end of last year, and as a driver-crew chief combination it is the best that I have ever had and I am excited about that. We have a great group of people and some of these other bigger teams shutting down and downsizing has allowed us to pick up some of those guys with a lot of experience at the cup level. That has helped us boost our performance. It is a big combination of everything. In this sport, no one thing is going to make you better. It is a combination of things and I feel like we have that.”