Todd Gilliland has three Truck races to get one crucial victory

LONG POND, PENNSYLVANIA - JULY 26: Todd Gilliland, driver of the #4 JBL Toyota, practices for the NASCAR Gander Outdoors Truck Series Gander RV 150 at Pocono Raceway on July 26, 2019 in Long Pond, Pennsylvania. (Photo by Jared C. Tilton/Getty Images)

The math isn’t adding up for Todd Gilliland, but a victory in one of the next three races could transform the equation dramatically.

The driver of the No. 4 Kyle Busch Motorsports Toyota is eighth in the NASCAR Gander Outdoors Truck Series standings, but five other competitors, including two behind him (Tyler Ankrum and Ross Chastain) already have locked up Playoff spots with victories.

Given that Gilliland is 150 points out of first place and 100 behind Matt Crafton (currently in the last Playoff-eligible position on points), his only realistic path to the postseason lies in winning a race.

To do that, Gilliland will have to translate early speed into a checkered flag. He has three chances—in Saturday’s Gander RV 150 at Pocono Raceway (1 p.m. ET on FOX, MRN and SiriusXM NASCAR Radio), or in subsequent races at Eldora and Michigan.

Last year, Gilliland qualified second in consecutive races at those three tracks, but his best finish among the three was fifth at Michigan. But that doesn’t mean he doesn’t think he can win before the end of the regular season—even, perhaps, on dirt at Eldora.

“I think Eldora even—someone’s got to win there, so it can be me,” said Gilliland, who was second fastest behind KBM teammate Harrison Burton opening practice and quickest in Happy Hour. “We were fast at Michigan. We’ve got a fast truck this weekend. It just doesn’t drive real good.

“We’ve been working really hard, and, honestly, this weekend coming here… Kyle Busch Motorsports, I think I saw on Instagram, has won the last four races here. So we’ve got a pretty good track record. We’re still trying to be that guy who brings it home this weekend.

“But with a bunch of young teammates, it makes it hard, because you don’t really know what to go off of. We trust each other as much as we can. At the same time, we’ve got to have our own feel for it and go forward with confidence.”

Teammates Burton and Christian Eckes are both 18 years old. Gilliland turned 19 in May.

Greg Engle