It was announced this morning that David Gilliland will drive the No. 21 Motorcraft Ford Fusion for Wood Brothers Racing, filling in for Bill Elliott who is dealing with back problems, this weekend at Atlanta.
This news is of course awesome! Also, there’s more very cool news that David is “piecing together” his driving schedule for the rest of the season by driving at least one race for Robby Gordon and three races for Joe Gibbs Racing in a 4th car.
When I hear that other teams are up for working with David it just serves as further proof that he’s a good driver, someone you should have on your team.
So when I read the following quote from TRG Motorsports owner Kevin Buckler, I was still kinda miffed:
“We’ve talked about every opportunity that’s come along for David and it’s kind of been a two-way street. When Bobby’s opportunity came along we called David and told him, and he understands. We’re certainly not kicking him to the curb, because it’s been a good ride for both David and TRG Motorsports.
“But when you’re building a team I have a responsibility to the team—our staff and employees, the partners and our investors—that putting a past champion, with the history that Bobby has, and his popularity in our series in the seat for the rest of the year, was a no-brainer. I wouldn’t be doing my job if I didn’t accept that opportunity, period.”
I guess I just don’t understand how you build a team when you change drivers during the season, and pull someone out of the car that they’ve been in all season long to then learn a new driver’s likes/dislikes.
One would assume that when you’re thinking about building a team you go into it thinking you’re going to stay with one person so that you can build up rapport, chemistry and clear communication system.
I think the likelihood of the No. 71 team winning a race with Bobby Labonte is the same as if David was in the car.
I’d also like to point your attention to this article about how TRG secured Bobby. I’d like to know why TRG couldn’t “rally around” David and help him be successful in the car, but they can for Bobby.
Ugh, whatever. I know that this stuff happens all the time in NASCAR but it doesn’t make it less annoying when it affects a driver that you like.
But to end on a very positive note, the moral of the story is that David Gilliland is a rockstar and he’ll get the ride he deserves, complete with sponsorship and full-team support, one of these days.