Todd Gilliland, 13-year-old son of Sprint Cup driver David Gilliland, finished second in his Late Model racing debut on Friday, and then followed that up with another runner-up finish later the same evening.

Todd Gilliland, David’s son, impresses with 2nd-place finish in Late Model debut — not bad for a 13-year-old eighth-grader

Leave a comment

Given how many sons follow their fathers into racing, it’s not that much of a surprise that Todd Gilliland has followed in the footsteps of his father, Sprint Cup driver David Gilliland, and grandfather Butch Gilliland, who raced in the former Winston Cup Series.

But what IS surprising is how successful the third-generation racer is already, and at such a young age.

In his first-ever Late-Model Stock Car (LMSC) race Friday night at Ace Speedway in Altamahaw, N.C. (northeast of Greensboro), the 13-year-old Gilliland finished second in his No. 98 Ford.

A few minutes later after crossing the finish line, Gilliland went out and competed in another race at the track, a 40-lap Limited Late Model event, and finished second again.

Let’s recap all that, because it deserves repeating:

* Gilliland finished second in his late-model racing debut in a 75-lap race.

* After that race, he went out in a 40-lap Limited Late-Model and finished second again.

* He’s only 13 years old!

Oh, yes, one more pertinent bit of information:

* He’s an eighth-grader!

In the 75-lap event, if he would have had a few more laps, Todd might have wound up winning, given the impressive way he worked his way up through the pack from his eighth-place qualifying position in the 75-lap event at the .4-mile track.

Falling back to 14th in the opening laps, Gilliland began moving up, reaching third 52 laps in, and was second by Lap 60.

He came within a few car lengths of the eventual winner, but just couldn’t reach the point in time.

And for an encore, he finished runner-up in the LLM race, as well.

“I’m really happy with how I did,” the young Gilliland said in a team media release. “In the first race, I was mad that I fell back so far, but my car was really fast so I was able to get back up to the front pretty good.

“I’m just really thankful for all the help my mom and dad and Chris (crew chief Chris Lawson) have given me. This is what I really want to do and it’s been awesome.”

Including a LLM race he competed in last November at Myrtle Beach, S.C., Todd has three runner-up finishes in as many starts.

Follow me @JerryBonkowski

Pippa Mann, breast cancer survivors paint IMS’ start/finish line pink

Photo: IndyCar
Photo: IndyCar
Leave a comment

We’ve written a fair bit on MotorSportsTalk about the efforts Pippa Mann has done in working with the Susan G. Komen Foundation for breast cancer awareness. Susan G. Komen has supported Mann’s last two runs at the Indianapolis 500, when she’s driven the No. 63 Honda for Dale Coyne Racing.

This being National Breast Cancer Awareness Month, the awareness hit a new level with Mann working alongside breast cancer survivors to paint the start/finish line at the Indianapolis Motor Speedway’s iconic Yard of Bricks pink for the day.

IMS president Doug Boles also joined in the opportunity.

View a selection of photos and social posts below. More is linked here, via

Mercedes set to clinch F1 constructors’ championship in Russia

SOCHI, RUSSIA - OCTOBER 08:  Lewis Hamilton of Great Britain and Mercedes GP speaks with members of the media in the paddock during previews to the Formula One Grand Prix of Russia at Sochi Autodrom on October 8, 2015 in Sochi, Russia.  (Photo by Clive Mason/Getty Images)
© Getty Images
Leave a comment

For the second year in a row, Mercedes is poised to wrap up the Formula 1 constructors’ championship in Sochi at this weekend’s Russian Grand Prix.

Mercedes won its first F1 teams’ title in Russia last year, having returned to the sport as a works constructor in 2010. When it last enjoyed such status in the 1950s, there was no championship for the teams.

Just as it did in 2014, Mercedes has dominated proceedings in F1 this season, winning all but three races and sweeping to eight one-two finishes to leave drivers Lewis Hamilton (pictured) and Nico Rosberg battling for the drivers’ title for the second straight year.

Now, Mercedes seeks the knock-out blow in the constructors’ title race by officially wrapping it up in Sochi this weekend.

To do so, the team must simply outscore rivals Ferrari by three points this weekend. The lead currently stands at 169 points, with 215 still on offer. After Sochi, there will be 172 remaining.

“We return to Russia with positive memories from last season, when the team sealed the first constructors’ title for Mercedes-Benz with a one-two finish,” team boss Toto Wolff said.

“A repeat performance in Sochi would be fantastic and this is absolutely the target – but we are under no illusions that it will come easy. The job is not done yet.”

The tire allocation for this weekend’s race could pose problems to Mercedes just as it did in Singapore, potentially allowing Ferrari to spoil the party and delay the victory celebrations at Brackley.

However, if the form book is to be trusted, Sochi could be playing host to another Mercedes party on Sunday night with a second world title in the bag for the Silver Arrows.