Todd Gilliland, 14, outdistances father David, grandfather Butch in first time they’ve all raced together

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Todd Gilliland has learned virtually everything he knows about racing from his father, Sprint Cup driver David Gilliland, and grandfather and dominating former west coast racer Butch Gilliland.

Saturday night at Irwindale Speedway in suburban Los Angeles, 14-year-old Todd showed dad and granddad a thing or two, finishing third in the Super Late Models main event. It was the first time that all three generations of Gillilands have raced in the same event.

With the Gilliland’s as the keynote drivers of the night, it was fitting that the race track called the event “Family Night,” with free admission for kids, dollar hot dogs, tacos and sodas.

And when it came for the three generations of Gillilands to put on a show, that’s what they did for the nearly 6,000 race fans that showed up.

Jason Patison, of Corona, California, wound up winning the race, followed by Jack Madrid of Dove Canyon, California, and then the youngest Gilliland, from Sherrill’s Ford, North Carolina.

Butch, meanwhile, who hasn’t raced competitively since 2002, proved that racing is like riding a bike: once you get behind the wheel, you never forget, finishing a strong fifth.

That left David Gilliland, who was hoping to join his son and father in the top-five, only to have those dreams wrecked – literally and figuratively – when he and Ryan Partridge collided on Lap 30.

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Hartley happy with ‘big progression’ on first day with Toro Rosso

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With 69 laps completed (28 in free practice one and 41 in free practice two) and respectable lap times in both sessions, Brendon Hartley quickly acclimated to a modern day Formula 1 chassis in his first run with Scuderia Toro Rosso in Friday practice for the United States Grand Prix.

The Porsche factory driver has been drafted into the team following a convoluted series of musical chairs that sees Daniil Kvyat back after a two-race absence, Carlos Sainz Jr. now at Renault and Pierre Gasly racing at the Super Formula season finale in Suzuka.

Over the time in the car today, Hartley experienced changeable conditions in FP1 before a more normal FP2, and discovered the new F1 cockpit after a day learning in the garage yesterday.

“A steep learning curve today! It all went pretty smoothly and I kept the car on track without making too many mistakes, so I’m quite happy,” the New Zealander reflected at day’s end.

“I didn’t really know what to expect from today because I just had so much to learn! I think I made quite a big progression throughout the day.

“The biggest difference from what I’m used to is the high-speed grip, it’s incredible here in Formula 1…it was quite an eye-opener! Another challenge are the tires, which are also quite different to what I’m used to. On the other hand, the long-run looks quite positive and I did a good job managing the tires there – the biggest thing I need to work on now is the new tire pace, and I’ll get another crack at it tomorrow morning before qualifying.

“All in all, I’d say it’s all coming together. We’ll now work hard and go through plenty of data tonight and hopefully I’ll make another step forward tomorrow.”

His best lap was 1.1 seconds up on Friday driver Sean Gelael, the Indonesian Formula 2 driver, in FP1 (1:39.267 to 1:40.406, good enough for 14th) and 1.1 seconds off the returning Kvyat in FP2 (1:37.987 to 1:36.761, good enough for 17th). Interestingly, the Gelael/Hartley combination in FP1 marked the second time in three races that Toro Rosso had a pair of drivers in its cars without a single Grand Prix start between them – Gasly’s debut at Malaysia was the other, when he and Gelael were in in FP1.

Coming into Friday’s running, Hartley said he was more ready for this opportunity now than he had been as a teenager. He admitted he’d called Red Bull’s Helmut Marko in the wake of Porsche’s LMP1 withdrawal news earlier this year to say he was game for any chance that might come.

“I’m a lot stronger than I was back then, basically. I wasn’t ready at 18 years old. I like to think I’m ready now,” he said.

“I haven’t driven a single-seater since 2012, but I like to think that Porsche LMP1 has hopefully prepared me well.”

As for the rest of his weekend, it’s been made more complicated by Hartley being assessed a 25-spot grid penalty, even though Hartley had done nothing to accrue the penalties.

The roundabout sequence of driver changes at Toro Rosso saw Gasly replace Kvyat, Kvyat replace Sainz, and now Hartley replace Gasly, as is outlined by NBCSN pit reporter Will Buxton below.