Todd Gilliland WINS in Austin. McDowell Scores Record Top-10 Finish and Alfredo Gets Top-20
A Recap of the Weekend Past
The NASCAR Cup and Truck Series made their inaugural debut at Circuit of The Americas this weekend.
Todd Gilliland and the No. 38 Crosley Brands team captured the inaugural NASCAR Truck Series win.
Michael McDowell and his No. 34 Love’s Travel Stops | Outwest Express Ford Mustang earn a 7th-place finish in Sunday’s Cup Series race.
Anthony Alfredo and the No. 38 MDS trucking team finished 18th in Sunday's Cup Series race and scored their second Top-20 finish of the season.
TODD GILLILAND. NO. 38 CROSLEY BRANDS FORD F-150. FINISHED 1.
Todd Gilliland and his No. 38 Crosley Brands Ford F-150 started Saturday’s inaugural NASCAR Truck Series race at Circuit of The Americas from the 5th position.
Gilliland would prove impressive right from the drop of the green flag as the No. 38 Crosley Brands Ford F-150 would settle inside of the Top-5 and quickly go to work on running down the leader. With 5 laps remaining in the first stage, the No. 38 had climbed into the 3rd position as Crew Chief Chris Lawson came over the radio to tell Gilliland that he was running 2 seconds per lap faster than the leader. Then, on the Final Lap, Gilliland would overtake the lead and go on to win Stage 1 (his second stage win of the season). Under caution, the No. 38 Crosley Brands Ford F-150 would pit for an air pressure adjustment, 4 tires and fuel after Gilliland noted that his truck, “lacked a bit of forward drive, but the balance is good.” Unfortunately, the No. 38 team would be hit with a questionable “over the wall too soon” penalty, which forced the No. 38 Crosley Brands Ford F-150 to restart at the rear of the field for the second stage.
In Stage 2, Gilliland would continue to impress as he made quick work of driving back through the field and would be scored in the 8th position with only a handful of laps remaining as Lawson called the No. 38 to pit road for 4 fresh rain tires and fuel before going on to take the second green-white-checkered flag from the 9th position. During the Stage 2 Caution, Gilliland told the team that he was “just lacking a bit of side bite through the high speed stuff” and would stay out after pitting just before the second Stage Break Caution.
Gilliland would restart 5th for the Final Stage of Saturday’s NASCAR Truck Series race and would strategically pick away at the trucks in front of him as he climbed into the second position with 7 laps remaining in the race. Then, 2 laps later, the No. 38 Crosley Brands Ford F-150 would regain the lead and never looked back as Gilliland would make history, becoming the first NASCAR Truck Series driver to win at Circuit of The Americas as well as earning Front Row Motorsports their first Truck Series victory.
With his win on Saturday, Gilliland locks himself into the NASCAR Truck Series Playoffs and is now scored 4th in the playoff standings.
GILLILAND ON CIRCUIT OF THE AMERICAS:
"We had such a great truck today. Thank you to Crosley Brands, Ford Performance, Front Row Motorsports, Speedy Cash, Speedco, The Pete Store, Frontline Enterprises, Chicago Pneumatic, Black's Tire and everybody that has come on board. This is a huge win for us; we've been gaining momentum every single week and today was another big step in the right direction for our team. I'm just so proud of everyone at Front Row Motorsports."
MICHAEL MCDOWELL. NO. 34 LOVE'S TRAVEL STOPS | OUTWEST EXPRESS FORD MUSTANG. FINISHED 7.
Michael McDowell and the No. 34 Love’s Travel Stops | Outwest Express team started Sunday’s inaugural NASCAR Cup Series race at Circuit of The Americas from the 23rd position.
The race track was primarily dry during the pre-race pace laps, which prompted NASCAR to allow teams to pit for an optional tire swap as the field had put on rain tires prior to rolling onto the grid for pre-race ceremonies. During the optional pit stop, Crew Chief Drew Blickensderfer made the call for McDowell to keep his rain tires on as the weather radar showed incoming precipitation. The call proved to be the right one because rain began to fall just as the green flag dropped, to which the majority of the field would be forced to pit again and trade out their slick tires for wet ones. McDowell would quickly jump into second place before the caution flag would fly on Lap 9. McDowell would stay out during the caution and the No. 34 Love’s Travel Stops | Outwest Express Ford Mustang would lead the field back to green as the No. 34 would lead 3 laps, including McDowell's 100th in the NASCAR Cup Series before going on to finish Stage 1 from the 2nd position.
During the first Stage Break Caution, McDowell would stay out and restarted Stage 2 from the 2nd position. The No. 34 Love’s Travel Stops | Outwest Express Ford Mustang would sustain significant left rear damage during a multi-car incident on Lap 20 after standing water on the straightaway between turns 11 and 12 created poor visibility. Under yellow, McDowell brought his race car to pit road for 4 fresh rain tires, fuel and damage repair and the No. 34 Love’s Travel Stops | Outwest Express Ford Mustang would restart from the 32nd position with 2 laps remaining in Stage 2. McDowell would gain 15 positions through the remainder of the stage as he took the second green-white-checkered flag from the 17th position. During the second Stage Break Caution, McDowell told the team that he had picked up a right rear tire rub and the would pit for 4 tires, fuel and damage repairs.
In the Final Stage of Sunday’s inaugural NASCAR Cup Series race at Circuit of The Americas, Michael McDowell and his No. 34 Love’s Travel Stops | Outwest Express Ford Mustang would blaze through the field once again as the rain began to intensify and would be scored in the 7th position when NASCAR displayed the yellow flag on Lap 54 for track conditions and shortly after made the decision to call the race early as the No. 34 Love’s Travel Stops | Outwest Express Ford Mustang would take the checkered flag from the 7th position.
Sunday’s 7th-place finish earns McDowell a career-best 5 Top-10 finishes in a single season as well as a team-best for the most Top-10 finishes for the No. 34 car in a single season.
MCDOWELL ON CIRCUIT OF THE AMERICAS:
“The beginning of the race wasn’t too bad. We started out on kind of a damp track and then obviously rain started coming down … once the rain started really coming down it was so treacherous. Once the cars got single filed out you were OK, but as soon as you got within four or five car lengths of a car it was pretty tough to see. I’m really proud of everybody on our No. 34 team, especially Drew and our pit crew because they did a great job of repairing the damage that we collected during Stage 2 and really kept us in the fight. I’m proud to bring home another Top-10 this season and I'm thankful to Love’s Travel Stops and Outwest Express for coming on board.”
ANTHONY ALFREDO. NO. 38 MDS FORD MUSTANG. FINISHED 18.
Anthony Alfredo scored his best NASCAR Cup Series finish on a non-superspeedway during Sunday's rain-shortened event at the Circuit of the Americas. In a wild, rain-soaked race, Alfredo kept his No. 38 MDS Ford Mustang on the track, while many others could not, and passed from his rear starting position all the way to 18th before NASCAR officials called the race early due to the track and racing conditions.
Alfredo made driving without visibility look easy on Sunday. Starting the race on slick tires, the team came down pit road in Stage 1 to switch to rain tires as track conditions worsened. The team went to the back of the field after the stop, but moved up nearly 10 spots at the end of the stage to finish 26th.
Stage 2, the rain came down heavier and Alfredo stayed out. The pit strategy moved the No. 38 team into 19th and Alfredo avoided some major wrecks in the Stage. NASCAR was forced to red flag the race to help remove standing water from the track and clean-up after a wild wreck. Alfredo reported the conditions to the team, but he also continued to stay on strategy. The team pitted for more rain tires and fuel and finished Stage 2 in 24th.
The final stage, which was cut short due to the rain, Alfredo made a brilliant drive. He raced up to 15th before having to make his final stop for fuel. A quick stop by the crew, Alfredo, who still couldn't see at times in the pouring rain, ran great laps. He quickly made his way back inside the top-20 and up to 18th. That is when NASCAR finally called the race with the rain just too much for the track to handle.
ALFREDO ON CIRCUIT OF THE AMERICAS:
"It was a wet and wild day. It's a great facility and super cool to race there. But, it was pouring rain and the restarts were insane. It was impossible to see anything. That made it unpredictable.
"I feel that I'm getting better at road racing. We finished 18th and I'm pretty happy with that, especially for never racing in the rain before. I got a lot of experience. I wish we would have finished the race because I think we could have gotten a few more spots. I want to thank all our partners and everyone on the team. I look forward to coming back to this track."