David Gilliland’s Daytona Speedweeks will get busier now that he’s set to take part in the NASCAR Camping World Truck Series’ season opener on Feb. 20.
Gilliland, who drives full-time for Front Row Motorsports in the Sprint Cup Series, will seek to make only his fourth career Truck Series start in the NextEra Energy Resources 250. He will drive the No. 92 Ricky Benton Racing Ford F-150.
In a release, Gilliland noted that colleagues at Roush-Yates Motors and RBR put him in touch with Benton when word got out that he needed a driver for the Daytona truck race.
“With me running a full-time season with Front Row in Cup, it was important that any opportunity to run in any other series be with a Ford team,” Gilliland said. “Ricky actually called me when I was out of the country on vacation, so we played a bit of phone tag before finally putting the deal together.”
Gilliland has also tweeted:
Benton himself says that his team was “very fortunate” to get Gilliland’s services for one of the Truck Series’ biggest events of the year.
“Everyone in the garage goes into Daytona with a lot of optimism and high expectations,” Benton said. “Sometimes, those expectations are justified and sometimes not. We have high expectations and I believe in my heart that we can win with the combination we have put together.”
Mike Hester will serve as Gilliland’s crew chief on the No. 92 Ford, which has support from BTS Tire and Wheel Distributors, Goodyear FleetHQ, Wynn’s, and Tim Cooksey Oil Company.
RBR ran eight events in the Truck Series last year with four drivers: Ross Chastain, Austin Hill, Corey LaJoie, and Scott Riggs. All of them competed for RBR in two races each.
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 (NBCSN, NBC Sports Gold).
The broadcast of the IndyCar race at Road America will begin at 5 p.m. on NBCSN.