KNOXVILLE — Todd Gilliland pulled off a late restart to win Saturday night’s NASCAR Camping World Truck Series race at Knoxville Raceway’s half-mile dirt oval.
Racing for father David Gilliland in his lone truck debut, Gilliland won for the third time in the series. After four full seasons in the Truck Series, he moved to the Cup Series this year with Front Row Motorsports.
“The Cup Series is tough, it’s just about racing every week. A million people have asked me, ‘Is this really what you want to do on your week off?'” Gilliland said. Absolutely. Nothing beats running.
“I tell everyone, I’m young and I wish I could do this every week of the year. … I love trucks. I’ve been racing here forever, it’s like. So being able to come back and get one, it’s so special.
He joined his father in Iowa with the Cup Series this weekend.
“I told him when the race started, all I want for Father’s Day is this trophy,” said David Gilliland, a former Cup driver. “We’ll take him home on the plane with us.”
Gilliland took the lead from John Hunter Nemechek shortly before John Wood spun to bring out the final warning with nine laps to go.
On the restart with four laps to go, Gilliland started on the outside in David Gilliland Racing’s #17 Ford and gradually pulled away.
Nemechek finished second, 0.945 seconds behind the No. 4 Kyle Busch Motorsports Toyota.
Zane Smith finished third, followed by Ty Makeski, Stewart Friesen, Derek Kraus, Matt Crafton, Grant Finallyger and Tyler Ankrum.
Defending series champion Ben Rhodes, this season’s winner of the dirt race at Bristol, overcame an overheating problem to finish 10th. USAC National Midget Champion Buddy Kofoid finished 11th in the #51 Kyle Busch Motorsports truck.
Carson Hocevar started second, won stage one and led the first 65 laps before the engine died on the #42 Chevy. He finished 35th.