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Gilliland Shoots For Repeat Win At NASCAR Toyota All-Star Showdown

David Gilliland (Photo Credit: Sam Greenwood/Getty Images for NASCAR) (Sam Greenwood / The Spokesman-Review)
David Gilliland (Photo Credit: Sam Greenwood/Getty Images for NASCAR) (Sam Greenwood / The Spokesman-Review)

David Gilliland got his start in late model racing inSouthern California. One of his earliest starts came at Yakima Speedway alongside his father Butch, current Nationwide Series driver, Kevin Hamlin, three-time NASCAR Northwest champion Jeff Jefferson and a slew of regional stars. The NASCAR roots draw Gilliland back for the Showdow.

Courtesy: NASCAR Media Relations

DAYTONA BEACH, Fla. (Jan. 16, 2010) – The last time David Gilliland competed in the NASCAR Camping World Series portion of the NASCAR Toyota All-Star Showdown, he came away with the win. That victory served as a springboard for him to get to NASCAR’s national series.

The second-generation driver from Riverside, Calif., is returning to compete in the seventh edition of the NASCAR Toyota All-Star Showdown at Toyota Speedway at Irwindale (Calif.) on Jan. 29-30.

“This event was always like our Daytona 500 when I raced on the West Coast,” Gilliland said. “It's always fun for me to go back and visit a lot of the people who were such a huge part of getting me to where I am today. We have had a lot of success at Irwindale and always enjoy racing there.”

Gilliland’s victory in the prestigious postseason event in 2005 capped his career in the NASCAR Camping World Series West.

Gilliland, who honed his skills as a driver in the NASCAR Whelen All-American Series Super Late Model class at Toyota Speedway, landed a full-time ride in the NASCAR Camping World Series West in 2004 and responded by winning the Sunoco Rookie of the Year Award.

After his victory in the NASCAR Toyota All-Star Showdown at the end of 2005, he joined an upstart NASCAR Nationwide Series team running a limited schedule and scored a dramatic “upset” victory at Kentucky Speedway midway through the 2006 year. He was soon named to drive for Robert Yates Racing in the NASCAR Sprint Cup Series.

Gilliland’s return to this month’s all-star event will be behind the wheel of an entry for car owner Jennifer Wong and the Speed Wong Racing team. He competed in two series events for the team last season.

His entry makes three former race winners attempting to make the all-star race, joining Matt Kobyluck (2006 and 2009) and Joey Logano (2007).

In addition, Eric Holmes, Auggie Vidovich and Greg Pursley are entered in the event. All three have won races in the Showdown – Holmes and Vidovich scoring victories in the former Elite Division in 2004 and 2005, respectively, while Pursley hoisted the trophy following his win in the Super Late Model race in 2007.

The NASCAR Toyota All-Star Showdown, highlighted by the 225-lap Camping World Series race, attracts the top drivers from across the country to what has become the pinnacle of short-track racing in America. Each race winner during the 2009 Camping World Series season is eligible for a protected starting spot, as are the 2009 champions from each of NASCAR’s six regional touring series and the NASCAR Whelen All-American Series national champion.

In addition to eligible 2009 race winners and series champions, the starting lineup will be determined through time trials, limited provisionals for Camping World Series regulars, and the last-chance "Open" race that provides drivers one final chance to make the grid.

The 2010 NASCAR Toyota All-Star Showdown schedule also includes a 100-lap Whelen All-American Series Super Late Model race and a 75-lap Late Model race.

Both nights of racing will be televised live on SPEED and will also air live on SIRIUS NASCAR Radio.

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Keeping Pace

Motorsports correspondent Doug Pace keeps up with motorsports news and notes from around the region.