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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Eli Tomac, Ken Roczen finish 1-2 at High Point, tie for points lead

Rich Shepherd, ProMotocross
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Time was running off the clock and Eli Tomac was going to give up the overall win to Ken Roczen, until the Colorado native dug deep and made the pass for second in Moto 2 at High Point Raceway at Mount Morris, Penn. Roczen would win his third Moto of the season, but Tomac won the war.

With a third-place finish in Moto 1 and his second in Moto 2, Tomac grabbed the overall victory for the second time this season in Round 4 of the Lucas Oil Pro Motocross championship.

For Tomac, it was another difficult start to the race. He tipped his bike over in Moto 1 and fell back to fifth while battling two seconds behind the leader Blake Baggett. Tomac had to battle his way back toward the front again after barely cracking the top five in the first Motos in two of the first three rounds.

Roczen fared even worse in Moto 1. He finished sixth in that race – more than 34 seconds behind the leader Baggett. Determined to make up for his bad start, Roczen charged through the field in Moto 2 and took the lead from Cooper Webb on Lap 9.

“I was just going to charge,” Roczen told NBC Sports after his Moto win. “Do the best I can. I went back to my Colorado (last week) settings because the first race was awful; I couldn’t even ride.”

Tomac entered the round two points behind Roczen and was able to make up only those two points. The battle continues onto Florida next week with a tie for the top spot.

With a 2-5, Jason Anderson grabbed third overall.

Battling back from injury, Anderson faded in the closing laps of Moto 2, but is regaining strength each week.

Webb (third) and Zach Osborne (fourth) rounded out the top five in Moto 2 and finished fourth and fifth respectively overall.

Moto 1 featured a rider searching for his first Moto win in two years. Baggett earned the holeshot and held off an early advantage by Tomac. When Tomac fell, it handed second to Anderson, who finished nearly 10 seconds behind the leader.

“Every time I get out front here, I have that weird sensation of trying to keep it on two wheels,” Baggett said on NBC Sports Gold following his win.

Tomac was not the only rider to go down in Moto 1. Webb lost his pegs on Lap 9 and became the cape to his KTM motorcycle as he flew along holding tight to the handlebars. He recovered in that race to finish seventh.

450 Moto 1 Results
450 Moto 2 Results
450 Overall Results
Points Standings

Adam Cianciarulo remains perfect in the 250 class. Winning Moto 2 in each round so far this season, Cianciarulo has capitalized on his late event surges to sweep Victory Lane in the first four weeks.

It wasn’t an easy run for Cianciarulo, nonetheless. He was only fifth at the end of Lap 1 in Moto 1 and was forced to slice through the field to get to second at the checkers of that race.

“Just coming to the races now – coming to outdoor nationals now – compared to the past, it’s just an entirely different vibe,” Cianciarulo said on NBCSN after the race. “It’s like I’m experiencing it for the first time because for the first time in my whole pro career I believe in myself.

“It’s a process when you hit rock bottom and start coming back.”

Hunter Lawrence stole the show in Moto 1. Earning his first career win handily, he came out in Moto 2 and proved it was not a fluke by finishing third in the race and taking second overall.

“It’s awesome,” Lawrence said on NBC Sports Gold following his Moto 1 victory. “It’s just a Moto win, but it’s a big milestone in our trip and campaign.”

Chase Sexton earned the holeshot in Moto 1, but faded to fourth at the end. Sexton kept Cianciarulo in sight in the back half of Moto 2 to finish second in the race and third overall.

With a 3-4, Dylan Ferrandis finished fourth overall with Colt Nichols (5-5) finishing fifth.

After losing the overall at Thunder Valley amidst controversy, Justin Cooper wanted to make a statement. He barely raised his voice with a sixth in Moto 1 and a ninth in Moto 2 to finish ninth overall.  He lost another 20 points to the points leader as Cianciarulo starts to edge away from the pack. Cooper remains second in the points, but is now 26 back.

Garrett Marchbanks went down hard on Lap 4 of Moto 1 and had the bike land on his head. He did not start Moto 2, but there have been no report of injury yet.

250 Moto 1 Results
250 Moto 2 Results
250 Overall Results
Points Standings

Moto Wins

450MX
[4] Eli Tomac (Hangtown II, Pala I & Pala II, Thunder Valley II)
[3] Ken Roczen (Hangtown I, Thunder Valley I, High Point II)
[1] Blake Baggett (High Point I)

250MX
[4] Adam Cianciarulo (Hangtown II, Pala II, Thunder Valley I, High Point II)
[3] Justin Cooper (Hangtown I, Pala I, Thunder Valley I)
[1] Hunter Lawrence (High Point I)

Next race: WW Ranch Motocross Park, Jacksonville, Fla. June 22

Season passes can be purchased at NBC Sports Gold.

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