Saturday, July 19, 2014

The Gillilands Impress at Irwindale Speedway

Butch Gilliland, grandson Todd, and son David at Irwindale Speedway in California
Butch Gilliland, grandson Todd, and son David at Irwindale Speedway in California
(July 19, 2014 -Keith Birmingham Pasadena Star-News)

While local driver Jason Patison, was able to rocket away from runner-up Jack Madrid of San Clemente, Calif., following a restart with 17 laps remaining on the half-mile track of Irwindale Speedway to finish 2.1 seconds in front, the Gilliland family remained the packed crowd pleaser.

The three generations of Gilliland NASCAR Drivers, Grandfather Butch, Son David, and fourteen-year-old Grandson Todd, were competing against each other for the first time.

Of the Gilliland clan, Todd fared the best with a third-place podium finish in his noteworthy debut in a Super Late Model. The youngest Gilliland has raced Late Models in North Carolina; however Irwindale was a step up in horsepower and the competition level of the drivers.

“It was really cool,” he said. “I didn’t have high expectations because I was against a bunch of really experienced drivers. I’m super happy.”

NASCAR Sprint Cup Driver and delighted father, David Gilliland added “My son does a great job. We’re really proud of him.”

Butch Gilliland came out of a ten-year retirement to finish the race in a respectable fifth. The grandfather, who is fifty-seven years young, was a top driver in his NASCAR Winston West years starting in the 1980s and a former champion of the series.

“It was really nice,” the elder Gilliland stated, “We tested a couple of days. I didn’t put a whole bunch of laps on it, we have enough laps. The car was decent. It was good we three got to race against each other. It really was fun to race against my grandson. I really wish I’d had a whole better car, but it was still a lot of fun.”

What happened to the middle Gilliland? NASCAR Sprint Cup Driver David Gilliland, who grew up in southern California was running second when contact sent him into retirement after completing 30 laps.

“We had him (Partridge) cleared and I don’t know, somehow I got turned there at the start-finish line,” David Gilliland said. “Bummer, kind of an unfortunate way to end our night, but the car was real fast and we had a good time coming back here. It’s still my favorite racetrack to race on in the country. It was an honor to be a part of it and watch my son finish third and my dad go out and finish fifth. It’s just a lot of fun and good to be back home.

The three Gillilands impressed the race fans with their dedication to both family and the sport of racing.

Pick Your Part Super Late Models -75 laps
Race Results:

  1. Jason Patison (Corona),
  2. Jack Madrid (San Clemente),
  3. Todd Gilliland (Sherrills Ford, N.C.),
  4. Barry Karr (Redlands),
  5. Butch Gilliland (Thailand),
  6. Linny White (Highland),
  7. Toni McCray (Highland),
  8. Jeff Eschleman (Corona),
  9. Kenny Smith (Bakersfield),
  10. Josh Soto (Oceanside),
  11. Jeff Williams (Newbury Park),
  12. Greg Hanneman (Toluca Lake),
  13. Ryan Partridge (Rancho Cucamonga),
  14. David Gilliland (Sherrills Ford, N.C.),
  15. Juan Garcia (Colombia),
  16. Rodney Peacher (North Hills).

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