A Grueling Rookie Schedule Won’t Slow Todd Gilliland Down

Todd Gilliland

Getty Todd Gilliland has embraced his rookie schedule.

Front Row Motorsports driver Todd Gilliland is 12 races into his rookie Cup Series campaign, which would have marked just over the halfway point in his previous series. Now, however, he still has 24 races remaining, but he isn’t letting the grind slow him down.

Gilliland met with Heavy ahead of the Goodyear 400 and provided some thoughts about his rookie season. He explained that the 36-race schedule is unfamiliar territory considering that he moved up from the Camping World Truck Series. He could complain, but he has chosen to embrace the grind due to his love of racing.

“This is definitely the toughest part of it,” Gilliland said. “I think it’s a schedule… just going from 22 or 23 races a year to 36, it’s crazy. Like, you literally don’t ever get a break. Monday morning you kind of sleep in a little bit and then it’s right back at it again. I mean, that’s what fun for me too, you know. I’m still young, I love to race every single weekend. But yeah, it’s definitely challenging just trying to get ahead.

“I never really understood watching the [Cup] guys in the shop when I was on the Truck side. Like, they have to prepare stuff so early on in advance, but now I definitely am getting a glimpse of what you actually do. You have to prepare that far ahead.”

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Gilliland Has Adjusted to His Schedule & a New Car

Todd Gilliland

GettyTodd Gilliland has dealt with some ups and downs in his rookie season.

The move to a much larger schedule has not been the only hurdle standing between Gilliland and Victory Lane. He has also had to contend with moving from a Ford F-150 in the Truck Series to a Gen 7 Ford Mustang.

Grizzled veterans and past champions have experienced varying levels of success during the 2022 Cup Series season. Ross Chastain, Erik Jones, Alex Bowman, and William Byron are all examples of drivers that have put themselves into contention for wins on a regular basis. Others, however, have struggled with spins and trying to adapt to a tighter handling setup.

Gilliland has preferred to move forward with a tighter setup. He explained that more grip will make the car faster and that the room for error will widen as the teams learn more about the Gen 7 era.

“I mean, it’s definitely more comfortable in these cars to be a little bit tighter for me,” Gilliland added. “Just if you’re on the edges, just the way everything is just in side force, no real tire catch in the car. So you don’t have much time to save it, if any. So for me, it’s been better to be a little bit tighter and feel like you can just hustle it that way and still be on kind of the safer side of things.”

Gilliland Has Experienced Struggles & Positive Moments in 2022

Todd Gilliland

GettyTodd Gilliland posted a season-best finish at Circuit of the Americas.

The rookie driver took over the No. 38 Ford Mustang after a Truck Series season in which he won at Circuit of the Americas. He immediately headed up to the Cup Series and began taking part in his first-ever laps at the top series.

The 2022 season has featured some issues and positive moments alike. Gilliland’s Daytona 500 trip came to an early end due to a crash. He also failed to finish races at Atlanta Motor Speedway and Talladega Superspeedway.

The rookie has made some positive strides during the year. He posted top-20 finishes at Auto Club Speedway, Phoenix Raceway, and Bristol Motor Speedway (dirt). He then capped off his trip to Darlington Raceway with a top-15 finish.

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