TEAM AND RACE NOTES:
Todd Gilliland and the No. 38 Long John Silver’s Ford team begin their West Coast swing at the Auto Club Speedway this weekend.
The Auto Club 400 is the start of three consecutive weekends out west that also includes stops at the Las Vegas Motor Speedway and the Phoenix Raceway.
Sunday’s race will be live on FOX at 3:30 p.m. ET. Action begins on Saturday with practice and qualifying at 2:00 p.m. ET on FS1.
Heading into the 400-mile race, Gilliland and the Long John Silver’s team look to gain points positions after their Daytona 500 finish. After a strong showing in his Dual, Gilliland raced most of the Daytona 500 in the top-20 and top-15 before being involved in an accident during the first overtime. The team eventually finished 27th.
Now, Gilliland can concentrate on a track that he’s enjoyed success on last year. Gilliland finished 20th at the Auto Club Speedway in his rookie debut and was fast all day. The team is looking to give Gilliland another fast Ford Mustang.
CREW CHIEF RYAN BERGENTY:
“It’s not the finish we were looking for at Daytona. But we had a lot of good things come out of our week that we can build from. We’re going to be ready to get to Fontana. Todd had a great showing there last year, making his way into the top-20, and I am confident he can do it again, if not better.
“I think we’re still coming together as a team and trying communicate a lot more. The Clash and Daytona were big steps in that direction. We have some new guys, and our pit crew is new this year. From a race execution standpoint, we just need more races to get into a rhythm with our group. There is nothing bad about it, but you always want a few races to build that chemistry.
“Sunday, we want to have a clean race, execute like we know we can, and that will give Todd a great chance of being up there at the end.”
DRIVER TODD GILLILAND:
“We had a good car at Daytona. We hate it that we didn’t finish higher, but we’re keeping our heads high and going into Fontana with a positive attitude.
“I am really looking forward to Auto Club. It is such a fun track to race; I raced well there last year, ending in the top-20. The team’s chemistry has been growing more and more every day. We’re going into this race with high hopes and expectations of a strong performance. This will really tell us where we are at with our downforce package. Front Row Motorsports has been so much better at downforce tracks that we don’t feel any disadvantage. We just need to keep punching above our weight and working hard for the results we know we can get.
“It’s cool to have Long John Silver’s on the car this weekend. I love their fish and shrimp and it is a big partner of our owner, Bob Jenkins. Fans will see the scheme on our car and Michael’s car this season. I think the truck team, too. I’m glad that I can give the scheme its first run of the season.”