It was basically a forgone conclusion, but Tuesday Kyle Busch Motorsports made it official that Todd Gilliland will run the entire 2019 NASCAR Gander Outdoors Truck Series schedule in the No. 4 Toyota Tundra.
Gilliland, 18, is on a quest for his first victory in Truck Series competition. After several close calls in 2017 — including leading on the last lap at Texas Motor Speedway in November before running out of fuel — Gilliland is ready for battle.
“I’m excited to be returning to the seat of the No. 4 Tundra at Kyle Busch Motorsports in 2019 and looking to build on the momentum that we had going at the end of 2018,” Gilliland said. “Last year we definitely had some high points and low points, so my goal is to be more consistent throughout the season. After being so close a couple times last year, I’m confident that I’ll be able to find victory lane this year and once that happens more wins will follow.”
Team owner Kyle Busch believes in his young driver, and thinks with Gilliland being eligible to run the full schedule in 2019 will lead to less pressure.
“There was a lot of pressure on Todd last year early in the season after he had to miss four of the first six races due to age restrictions and then needed to get a win to become eligible for the playoffs,” Kyle Busch said. “I think maybe he was pushing a little too hard to try and dig himself out of that hole. While it was unfortunate that he didn’t make the playoffs, at the end of the year he did a much better job and if it wasn’t for a few unfortunate endings he should’ve won two races. We’re looking for him to continue the progress that he made at the end of last year and be a contender for the championship this season.”
The effort will be funded with sponsorship from JBL Audio and Mobil 1, who have both been big parts of the KBM organization for several seasons.
Gilliland, the son of former Cup Series veteran David Gilliland, has 12 top-10 finishes in 25-career Truck Series starts. Before moving up the ladder to the Truck Series, Gilliland won two NASCAR K&N Pro Series West championships with 13 total victories, and won seven more races in the NASCAR K&N Pro Series East. Gilliland also has a win on his resume in the ARCA Racing Series, which came in his first-career start at Toledo.