Front Row Motorsports forms Gander Trucks team, to field Todd Gilliland

by Justin Nguyen

Front Row Motorsports is branching out into the NASCAR Gander RV & Outdoors Truck Series. On Monday, the team announced it would field a Truck Series programme for the 2020 season, running the #38 Ford F-150 for Todd Gilliland. The operation will be in partnership with DGR-Crosley.

Gilliland, the son of DGR-Crosley co-owner and former FRM driver David Gilliland, finished eleventh in Truck points in 2019. He had spent much of his career in the Toyota stable, including the last three Truck seasons with Kyle Busch Motorsports. In forty-eight career Truck starts, he has twenty-six top-ten finishes and scored his first win at Martinsville Speedway in the late 2019 season. The 2016 and 2017 K&N Pro Series West (now ARCA Menards Series West) champion will not return to KBM for 2020 as Raphaël Lessard takes over his #4 Toyota Tundra.

“I’m really looking forward to racing an F-150 in the Truck Series this year with Front Row Motorsports as part of the Ford family,” Gilliland stated. “I’ve been around Bob Jenkins and the whole Front Row crew for a long time growing up with my dad racing for them. The talent that they’ve brought in for my program is really exciting. I know or have worked with almost every person that’s on my team this year at some point in my career. That helps tremendously in building relationships and trust with each other.”

Although #38 was used by Niece Motorsports on a part-time basis in 2019, the number holds sentimental value for the Gilliland family. David and Todd’s grandfather Butch have both used the number during their careers, with David running the #38 Ford in the NASCAR Cup Series for Yates Racing from 2006 to 2008 and FRM from 2010 to 2015.

This will be FRM’s first foray into Truck racing, though the team, who has two Cup victories, had previously dabbled in NASCAR’s other feeder series at the Nationwide level (now Xfinity Series). From 2008 to 2010, the team fielded rides that included a full campaign for Eric McClure (outside of the road courses) in 2008 and Tony Raines in 2009. Raines, who finished twelfth in points in his lone full-time season, recorded the team’s first top ten in either series.

“We’re all very excited for this expansion,” Jenkins added. “I’ve watched Todd grow up in this sport and have seen the talent he brings firsthand. Not only does he come from a racing family, but he’s got the natural ability of a winning driver. I’m confident that having him drive in our debut season will be a great success.”

Jon Leonard will serve as Gilliland’s crew chief. Previously an engineer at Richard Childress Racing, Leonard worked as the interim crew chief for Leavine Family Racing in 2017 and 2018.

DGR-Crosley switched to Ford following the 2019 season after racing with Toyota. Former drag racing champion Tanner Gray will race full-time for the team in 2020.

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