Forgive David Gilliland if part of his mind is still in Daytona Beach, Fla., this week as he preps for the Sprint Cup Series' next race at New Hampshire Motor Speedway. The driver of the No. 38 Long John Silver's Ford was in the top five entering the final lap of last weekend's Coke Zero 400 and had a shot at a win. But his lane's momentum stalled out, and then he was caught up in a wreck coming to the checkered flag. He still finished 15th for his second top-15 finish of the 2013 season.
Now it's time to shift from the high-speed Daytona International Speedway to the flat, 1.058-mile oval in Loudon, N.H., a track that Gilliland says is always challenging when it comes to a car's handling.
The Sprint Cup veteran has 12 career starts at Loudon, with a best finish of 27th (2012).
Comments from Long John Silver's team driver David Gilliland heading to Loudon:
"We definitely had a shot at the win at Daytona. We were fifth or so at the white flag. Kurt (Busch) and I had a good run on the outside but we came up a little short because we ran out of help. And then we got caught up in the wreck coming to the checkers. But I'm proud of my guys and proud of our effort. That was probably the fastest speedway car I've had with Front Row Motorsports. I'm happy and overall it was a good day for us.
"Loudon, I hate to say it, is probably my least favorite racetrack on the schedule. It's just very flat and it feels like it's very difficult to get drive in the car to power down off the corners. But my crew chief, Frank Kerr, is looking forward to going back there, and he's pumped some new life into me to go back there. Hopefully we can turn things around.
"You know what you've got to do going there. It's a flat track, so you've got to turn the center and be able to get back to the gas and have good drive off the corners. It just seems like every time you do anything to try to help the center turn better, it hurts the drive. Or, you fix the drive and it hurts the center. So, that balance is kind of weird. You're kind of tip-toeing around the whole weekend."