NASCAR: Top drivers of 2014 – No. 30 David Gilliland — and series recap

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Today we wrap up our series of the 30 top drivers of 2014 today with 30th-ranked David Gilliland.

Here are the drivers and dates that their season reviews ran on. Click on the driver’s name to read their 2014 recap and look-ahead to 2015:

Dec. 11 Kevin Harvick, Ryan Newman
Dec. 12 Denny Hamlin, Joey Logano
Dec. 13 Brad Keselowski, Jeff Gordon
Dec. 14 Matt Kenseth, Dale Earnhardt Jr.
Dec. 15 Carl Edwards, Kyle Busch
Dec. 16 Jimmie Johnson, Kurt Busch
Dec. 17 AJ Allmendinger, Greg Biffle
Dec. 18 Kasey Kahne, Aric Almirola
Dec. 19 Kyle Larson, Jamie McMurray
Dec. 20 Clint Bowyer, Austin Dillon
Dec. 21 Paul Menard, Brian Vickers
Dec. 22 Marcos Ambrose, Martin Truex Jr.
Dec. 23 Tony Stewart, Casey Mears
Dec. 24 Ricky Stenhouse Jr., Danica Patrick
Dec. 25 Justin Allgaier, David Gilliland


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David Gilliland

Season finish: 30th

2014 Season Stats: 0 wins, 0 top-5, 0 top-10, 1 Pole.

What went right: Gilliland struggled to a 30th place finish in 2014. High points were few, but there were some: He earned the pole for the Coke Zero 400 race at Daytona in July (unfortunately he wrecked in the race and finished 35th). He also led 14 laps during the season, with his best finishes being 17th in the second Pocono race and 21st on the road course at Sonoma.

What went wrong: It was a difficult season for Gilliland, who recorded his third finish of 30th place in the last four seasons, and finished 30th or worse in five of the last six seasons. Even a switch in crew chiefs, from Frank Kerr to Jay Guy after the fall Chase race at Kansas really didn’t make that much of a difference. Interestingly, Gilliland started the season 34th after the Daytona 500 and never varied much, being ranked between 30th and 34th.

2015 Prospectus: Gilliland is expected to return to drive the No. 38 Ford Fusion for Front Row Motorsports once again in 2015. There have been no announcements to the contrary. Likewise, there have been no announcements that Guy will not return as crew chief for Gilliland, either. While there have been rumors that teammate David Ragan, who finished 32nd in 2014, may not return to FRR and possibly be replaced by Cole Whitt, it’s looking more like FRR will have a three-car lineup of Gilliland, Ragan and Whitt. One other thing to keep an eye on is Gilliland’s 14-year-old son, Todd, who has become quite a proficient late model racer.

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Will Power nips Jack Harvey at finish to pace Road America practice

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Will Power led the only IndyCar Road America practice of the weekend Saturday, shooting to the top of the chart on his 22nd and final lap of the session at 1 minute, 46.0021 seconds in his No. 12 Dallara-Chevrolet.

Dixon knocked Jack Harvey’s No. 60 Dallara-Honda from the top spot (which would have marked the first time that a Meyer-Shank Racing car led practice).

Josef Newgarden, Power’s Team Penske teammate, was third, followed by Felix Rosenqvist and Ryan Hunter-Reay (who went off course late in the session but sustained no damage).

Alex Palou, Colton Herta, Graham Rahal, defending race winner Alexander Rossi and Pato O’Ward rounded out the top 10 in the practice that preceded a Saturday-Sunday race weekend doubleheader for IndyCar at Road America.

PRACTICE RESULTS: Click here to see who was fastest in the session

RACE INFORMATION: What you need to know for today’s REV Group Grand Prix

RATED ROOKIE: Rinus VeeKay rebounding well from a tough debut

IndyCar tested some new cooling devices with cars from Andretti Autosport, Chip Ganassi Racing and Team Penske. Several drivers have said the cockpit heat caused by the new aeroscreen was stifling during last week’s GMR Grand Prix, and IndyCar repositioned drink bottles this weekend to keep liquids cool. The pieces tried by IndyCar during the Road America practice won’t be available during the races Saturday and Sunday at the Elkhart Lake, Wisconsin, road course.

Scott Dixon, who is seeking to open the season with his third consecutive IndyCar victory, was 15th fastest in the 75-minute session. Other notables in Road America practice: Marco Andretti (12th), Simon Pagenaud (19th).

Power is aiming for his second consecutive pole position after qualifying first last week on the Indianapolis Motor Speedway road course.

Qualifying for the REV Group Grand Prix Race #1 will take place at 2:15 p.m. ET (NBCSNNBC Sports Gold).

The broadcast of the IndyCar race at Road America will begin at 5 p.m. on NBCSN.