Harrison Burton (No. 20 DEX Imaging Toyota) drove to victory in Saturday's ARCA Menards Series Lucas Oil 200 driven by General Tire at Daytona International Speedway. It was Burton's first start of any type at Daytona.
"It means so much to come here and win at a track my dad won at before me," Burton said. "I can't thank my guys at Venturini Motorsports enough, they busted their butts on this car for the last month to get it so we can come here and compete to win.
"We had some debris on the grille over the last run and I think it actually helped. The temperatures went up but they weren't too high. I got the jump on the restart and I knew Todd was on a run. We were up high next to the wall and I looked up and saw no one had a run. I knew that any time something bad could happen, and I was just waiting for it. It never did and then when I crossed the line I started screaming my head off."
"I could go wherever I wanted with this car," Gilliland said. "No matter what line I was in, we could go to the front and help the whole line. It was a shame I couldn't get up there and beat my Kyle Busch Motorsports teammate for the win, but we learned a lot for next week.
Gilliland planned on riding at the back in the early stages of the race then charging to the front at the end. He was able to team up with Brandon McReynolds (No. 28 US Work Boats Toyota) but McReyolds was involved in a crash that sent the race into overtime. From there, it was a one lap dash to the finish, and Gilliland tried to outduel Burton, but couldn't make it stick on the final lap around.
"There's still a lot to be learned," Gilliland said. "I think I learned a lot for next week. It would have been great to get up there and race Harrison tonight but I think what I learned will be a huge help when we get back here in the Truck next week."
Grant Quinlan (No. 30 Jones Demolition & Abatement Ford) finished third. Quinlan's team owner, Terry Jones, finished second here in 2017, and Quinlan, a former ARCA/CRA Super Series late model champion also capitalized in a rare superspeedway start.
"I don't do a lot of superspeedway racing," he said. "It's a lot different than what I am used to. We hooked up with Todd (Gilliland) and went to the front late in the race. We had some debris on the grille and had to make a second pit stop but thankfully he was back there too and we could work our way up to the front together."
Christian Eckes (No. 15 JBL Audio Toyota), the General Tire Pole Award winner, lined up second on the final restart and ended up fourth.
"I thought we had a little bit better car than Harrison did but that's speedway racing," Eckes said. "We just weren't in the right line on the restart. As far as the points are concerned it was a good day. It would have been good to win here but we're happy to get a good start on the championship."
There were five cautions for incidents which consumed 30 laps, the final one of which sent the race into overtime. The first accident of the night involved defending race winner Michael Self (No. 25 Sinclair Lubricants Toyota) and last year's runner-up finisher Willie Mullins (No. 3 County Waste Systems Ford) tangled on the back stretch, cutting their day short.
Other incidents involved Eric Caudell (No. 2 Caudell Consulting & Marketing Ford), Thad Moffitt (No. 46 Performance Plus Oil Chevrolet), Paul Williamson (No. 36 Vizion Motorsports Toyota), J.J. Pack (No. 61 IceBoxx Customs Toyota), Brandon McReynolds, and Bret Holmes (No. 23 Holmes II Excavation Chevrolet). There were no injuries in any of the incidents.
Burton led three times for 48 laps. Other leaders included Eckes, who led 9 laps from pole, Gus Dean (No. 32 CAB Installers Chevrolet), who led 29 laps. There were five lead changes among three drivers.
The next race for the ARCA Menards Series is the ARCA Pensacola 200 at Five Flags Speedway, scheduled for Saturday, March 9. The race will be live on MAVTV at 8 pm ET; ARCARacing.com will have live timing & scoring, live chat, and live track updates free for registered users.
-ARCA Menards Series Press Release and Photo