Motorsport News

Stars and Stripes & Rainy Nights for Todd Gilliland at Charlotte

Nascar Cup Series

Top Dog: Todd Gilliland

At 5:30 p.m. ET at Charlotte Motor Speedway, the prestige of Sunday’s (May 26) 65th annual Coca-Cola 600 was soaring.

Fans draped in either red, white and blue or their favorite driver’s apparel poured into the facility to witness one of the greatest events in racing.

There was curiosity surrounding if Kyle Larson could pull the Memorial Day Double, competing in both the Indianapolis 500 and Coke 600. There was a former president attending the race for the first time and there was a halfway break scheduled, a full slate of remembering those who gave their all for our country. You could feel the anticipation reaching an absolute peak.

Four hours later, it came to a crashing halt due to one of the most dreaded words in motorsports: rain.

Despite the weather ruining Larson’s attempt, cutting NASCAR’s longest race short by 151 laps, the action was strong. Drivers had multiple lane options and worked their way up to the wall, creating great battles throughout the field.

That aided Todd Gilliland, the night’s top underdog, who finished 17th after having to start 35th for Front Row Motorsports.

Stage one was a bit of a struggle for Gilliland as he fell a lap down and concluded the stage in 30th. That didn’t keep him from fighting hard, however, getting into a fierce battle for the free pass with a few other cars that included several close calls and exciting racing. Unfortunately, he just missed out on the lucky dog.

A caution with 13 to go in the first stage allowed Gilliland to wave around, setting him up to get back on the lead lap and pit at the end of the stage. Three cautions in the latter part of stage two allowed the No. 38 team to work on tightening up the car, and Gilliland improved to 24th by the end of the stage prior to the moment of remembrance.

In about the 50 laps the field was able to complete in the third stage, the Sherrills Ford, N.C. native worked his way into the top 20 and ultimately up to 17th before the rain began to fall, eventually prompting NASCAR to call the event.

The run was impressive from Gilliland considering how he started, and it gives him his third top 20 in a row. The Ford driver continues to be on track to earn a career-best average finish (21.7) and points finish (22nd).

How Does It Compare?

The first two Coke 600s under the Next Gen era were certainly chaotic, mixing up the results more than this year’s edition. However, the common…

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