Todd Gilliland is an up and coming NASCAR driver. In 2018, the Toyota developmental driver earned a seat with Kyle Busch Motorsports. While he didn’t win a race last year, he was impressive.
After a ho-hum start to his 2019 NASCAR Gander Outdoors Truck Series campaign, team owner Kyle Busch voiced his displeasure with Gilliland and his teammate Harrison Burton. See, Busch was allowed five starts with the team and he won in all five races. Even Greg Biffle who hadn’t run in the Truck Series in years found victory lane back in June at Texas.
Meanwhile, Gilliland and Burton were winless.
Busch basically said that if you can’t win in one of his Trucks, he will find someone that will. There should be no excuses.
Gilliland, finally did get a win, but his scanner picked up some interesting banter from him following his victory in Saturday’s NASCAR Hall of Fame 200 at the Martinsville (VA) Speedway.
Gilliland, took a verbal shot at team owner Busch in the moments after his first career victory. Gilliland, yelled over the team radio that Busch could “stay in his (expletive) motor home.”
When asked about the comments afterward, Gilliland said, “It was just kind of heat of the moment really. Everyone has heard what he said. It’s true, we should have been running better. I probably wish I didn’t say it now. It is what it is. He said some stuff about me.”
With a driver lineup not yet announced for KBM for next season, after these comments, I wouldn’t expect Gilliland to be back. Typically, Busch doesn’t keep drivers past two seasons. Burton, is moving up to the XFINITY Series in replacing Christopher Bell in the No. 20 Toyota.
With not much room to grow with Toyota for NXS or Cup, Gilliland’s comments about Busch could lead to an uncertain future. He’s a Toyota driver and has a ton of talent, but immaturity like he said on Saturday could cost him.
I know he’s young and I know he heard what Busch said about him earlier this year, but Busch wasn’t wrong. Gilliland, had to find a way to win and he flat out didn’t prior to Saturday afternoon. Nothing Busch said about Gilliland prior to this weekend was false. It was all true.
For Gilliland to say what he did after what should have been the top moment of his young racing career wasn’t needed. It would draw red flags to me if I was a team owner in this sport.
To call out your boss and take a jab at him following a win wasn’t needed. It’s childish. It’s as if he really didn’t think what Busch said earlier this season was true. While Gilliland can say that he thought it was, the comments he made following the race made me believe otherwise. It’s like the how dare you call me out thinking from Gilliland. Well, Busch is the team owner and has that right to call out his employees for not performing then when they finally do perform, they call the boss out. I have a huge problem with that thinking.
This is something that isn’t going away any time soon.