RICHMOND, Virgina -- This weekend, David Gilliland and the #84 Clay Andrews Racing Chevrolet team head to the .75-mile Richmond (Va.) International Raceway for Friday night's Circuit City 250. It is the first short track race of the season for the team.
Gilliland is one of the best short track drivers in the country. He proved it last November by winning the Toyota All-Star Showdown at the half-mile Irwindale (Calif.) Speedway. The All-Star Showdown pits the best NASCAR West Series racers against the best NASCAR Busch East racers in one event.
This will be Gilliland's first career Busch Series short track event and first at Richmond International Raceway.
Clay Andrews Racing is looking to build a reputation as one of the fastest-growing teams in the Busch Series. They have acquired a 28,000 state-of-the-art race shop in Statesville, N.C., and owner, Clay Andrews, has already appointed winning personnel. Veteran crew chief Billy Wilburn will lead Gilliland in 2006. Former Nextel Cup winner Jerry Nadeau serves as the team's consultant. The team plans to run a partial schedule in 2006.
The team is still searching sponsorship opportunities for the long-term future.
Gilliland's comments as he prepares Richmond:
Are you more comfortable on short tracks?
"I don't know if I would say that. I mean, we went to Texas and qualified 11th. I feel that I'm strong, and that this team is strong at every track we've been on so far. I do, however, have a lot of confidence going to Richmond. We tested there and had a good test. Richmond is good, fast short track. It's a lot like the tracks I raced on out west. I think that's what I'm excited about.
"Richmond really isn't all about aerodynamics or all about horsepower. It's about Saturday night short track racing. That's where I came from. That's what I'm comfortable the most at right now until we get more experience on the bigger tracks. I'm looking forward to Richmond."
Do you think your background gives you an advantage for this weekend?
"It probably doesn't hurt. We ran a lot of short tracks all over the West Coast. The All-Star Showdown was a cool race to win. I think that has been the biggest win of my career. It really helped me get into the headlines, but I think it built confidence that I can beat the best guys in the country.
"It's a really cool event to win. They give you a Toyota truck, and that's probably the best trophy in the sport. I mean, I won a new truck. You hear about Grandfather Clocks (Martinsville) or a guitar (Nashville), but I actually won a Toyota truck. It's the only trophy that doesn't fit in my trophy case."
How did you test at Richmond?
"We really learned a lot about the track. I've never raced there, but I've been to a lot of tracks similar to Richmond. It's a really fast track, but you need to handle well too. We're going to make sure we have a good handling car for Friday night.
"Our test session went well. I've never been there. The track time was very helpful, but we need to race. I really want to get out there and see what I can do. We want to finish on the lead lap and get a top-15 or top-10 finish. I really think we are easily capable of doing that if everything goes right."