BROOKLYN, Mich. -- David Gilliland, capitalizing on his big
upset in a NASCAR Busch Series race, replaced Nextel Cup veteran
Elliott Sadler in the No. 38 Robert Yates Racing Ford and will
drive Sunday at Michigan International Speedway.
The first test for Gilliland will be the GFS Marketplace 400.
"It's just an honor to be associated with a championship,
winning, quality team," Gilliland said Friday.
His team, however, has struggled this season. Dale Jarrett, who
gave the team a Cup title in 1999, plans to leave at the end of the
season and Sadler already is gone. Meanwhile, crew chiefs are
coming and going.
The 30-year-old Gilliland, who started in racing as crew chief
for his father, Butch, on the west coast, will work with veteran
crew chief Todd Parrott. Parrott, who guided Jarrett to the Cup
championship, recently returned to the team after a stint with
"Having Todd Parrott as my crew chief, I'm hoping it will cut
down my learning curve a little bit and get us to where we need to
be," Gilliland said. "I'm just very excited about the
"I appreciate the opportunity to work with David," Parrott
said. "He's been a crew chief, so he understands what it's like
being in this position and he's a great race driver. He showed a
lot of ability.
"I've won 30-something races here at Robert Yates Racing, a
championship, and it feels like I'm coming home."
Doug Yates, Robert's son and the team's chief engine builder,
"I've got some friends in the business that have been around
for a long time," Yates said. "Earlier in the season, they said,
'You've got to watch this guy.' They said, 'This is next Dale
"I started watching him and every practice session he'd be at
the top of the sheet and every race he'd be competitive with really
just hand-built equipment because he doesn't have a big
organization behind him. Really, the true test of a driver is when
he can get into average equipment and make it look better than
In June, Gilliland won the Busch race at Kentucky Speedway,
driving for Clay Andrews Racing, a part-time team. The victory has
been called one of the biggest upsets in Busch history and it
spurred interest in the driver from numerous top-level
organizations, including Yates.
When Sadler left the Yates team this week to replace fired
Jeremy Mayfield in the No. 19 Evernham Motorsports entry, that
opened the door for Gilliland, who will skip a shot at Rookie of
the Year in 2007 to drive the last 14 races this season. Drivers
are allowed to race in up to seven events per year without losing
their rookie status.
"We feel like it's more important to run the races and get the
experience on some of these tracks that I haven't been to,"
Gilliland started 31st and finished 32nd in his only previous
Cup start on the road course at Infineon Raceway in June and owns a
22.5 average finish through eight NASCAR Busch Series starts this