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Not your typical eighth-grader: Todd Gilliland, 13, wins first career Late Model race

May 3, 2014, 8:55 PM EDT

(Photo courtesy ToddGilliland.com) (Photo courtesy ToddGilliland.com)

Normally, when you put the words “sweep” and “13-year-old” together, it typically means mom or dad want Junior to use a broom.

That’s not the case for young Todd Gilliland.

The son of NASCAR Sprint Cup driver David Gilliland thoroughly swept through things Friday night at Ace Speedway in Altamahaw, N.C., leading two practice sessions, earning his first-ever pole in qualifying and ultimately winning the race, his first triumph in a Late Model car.

What’s more, it was just the seventh stock car race the younger Gilliland has competed in, driving for his father’s David Gilliland Racing team.

After the top three qualifiers were inverted to start the race, Gilliland moved into second within the first 10 laps and romped over the rest of the field in the final 24 laps to win the 40-lap Limited Late Model event.

Oh, and did we mention that David is only an eighth-grader?! But it’s also obvious his father has imparted a lot of veteran knowledge to his young son.

“I just had to be smart and patient the whole race,” Gilliland said. “I needed to stay calm and take my time, because I knew if I wrecked, I was done.”

The younger Gilliland now leads the points in both the Limited Late Model and Late Model stock car classes at the .40-mile track. With his win, he now top-three finishes in each of his last five starts.

“I just wish my dad had been there, but he’s in Talladega. I couldn’t wait to talk to him after. I want to be just like him when I grow up.”

Follow me @JerryBonkowski

  1. gbart22 - May 3, 2014 at 10:51 PM

    NASCAR is obsessed with nepotism.

  2. gbart22 - May 3, 2014 at 10:51 PM

    NASCAR is obsessed with nepotism.

  3. indycarseries500 - May 4, 2014 at 1:10 PM

    Because we all know Nico Rosberg, Kevin Magnusson, Graham Rahal, Marco Andretti, Britney and Courtney Force don’t have racing car driver fathers.

  4. gbart22 - May 5, 2014 at 1:57 AM

    I wouldn’t know I don’t follow those other racing series closely enough to tell you who is who and where they come from just NASCAR.

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