Having enjoyed a rare weekend off thanks to the early season break in the NASCAR Sprint Cup, TRG will hope to secure its slot in the top 35 as the series heads to Bristol for the fifth round of the year.
The team moved into 34th in the team standings after the fourth round of the season, with David Gilliland now hoping to continue the team's form into the pivotal race weekend, which will decide whether or not the team will secure an automatic slot in the upcoming races of will need to qualify on speed.
Gilliland, who came into the team after the Daytona 500, has run strongly at Bristol in the past after finishing ninth last season and will hope for another impressive result this time around in the #71 Capital Window-backed Chevrolet Impala.
“I finished ninth at Bristol last year in the August race,” he said. “To run ninth again will take some luck. Slugger and all of the guys are preparing a good car. The key to doing well at Bristol is you have to have a strong car. If you have a slow car and you are in the way you are going to get punted, booted and spun out and wrecked. You have to have a good competitive car and try to keep your nose clean. The key is staying out of trouble and being patient. If a faster car is coming you have to be smart and pick your battles. Bristol is very similar to Mesa Marin Raceway in Bakersfield (California) back home. I can relate a lot to that race track. I have run really well at Mesa Marin and I drive Bristol the same way.”
“In qualifying at the most there will be a half-second from the pole to the last place guy. The fields are that close now. You just can't make a mistake. You have to be on your game at Bristol. Last year I pitted on the back stretch. Hopefully we can qualify well enough to be pitted on the front stretch. Under green it doesn't really matter, under yellow the front stretch is the place to be.”
Although the Sprint Cup series had the weekend off, TRG boss Kevin Buckler was busy working with his KONI Challenge team at Homestead-Miami but now turns his focus back to the NASCAR team for an event he admits is vital moving forwards.
“We are at the cross roads,” he said. “Bristol is so important for this new team. So far we have done everything that we need to do to position the team to run the rest of the season and move up the field and be competitive. Yes there is a lot of pressure this weekend, but we all love it! Running at Bristol only adds to that pressure. We are asking a lot of David and Slugger, but so far they have responded to pressure and performed. If we can qualify and come away with a good finish I think that we are for a bright future for this tough little team and hopefully attract the necessary sponsor partners to do battle with the big guys the rest of the year.”