Todd Gilliland and the #38 Ford Crew Reveal Expectations From the Busch Light Clash Amidst Arrival of “A Lot of New Faces”

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DARLINGTON, SOUTH CAROLINA – SEPTEMBER 05: Todd Gilliland, driver of the #38 Frontline Enterprises Inc. Ford, waits on the grid prior to the NASCAR Camping World Truck Series In It To Win It 200 at Darlington Raceway on September 05, 2021 in Darlington, South Carolina. (Photo by Jared East/Getty Images)
While many drivers are heading into the 2024 season looking for a fresh start after past errors like Noah Gragson, the case is also fairly similar for Front Row Motorsports man Todd Gilliland. His teammate made it into the playoffs last year for the second time in three seasons and has been on an upward trajectory. Meanwhile, the numbers have not been favoring Gilliland.
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With only four top-10 finishes in 2023 compared to Michael McDowell’s Indianapolis win, two top-5 and eight top-10s, the pressure is on the #38 Ford Mustang driver to convince team owner Bob Jenkins to stick by his side. And with many changes within the #38 garage, Gilliland and his crew chief Ryan Bergenty are setting the bar high for the new faces at Front Row Motorsports.
Front Row Motorsports are working hard to get the #38 back up to speed
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While Todd Gilliland’s season may fall short when compared to his teammate, he, along with crew chief Ryan Bergenty, brought in his career-best season in the Cup Series. But throughout the winter break, the pair have worked toward building a stronger foundation for 2024. So before heading to the Busch Light Clash at the L.A. Coliseum this weekend, the Front Row Motorsports team released a press statement, sharing their notes for the coming weekend.
Ryan Bergenty, who has led Todd Gilliland ever since his Cup Series debut, is looking to build on their relative success in 2023. But before the pair can get on with the on-track action, the chief needs to figure out where all the new staff arrivals at the #38 garage fit in. After all, if only the crew chief and the driver have good chemistry without the new faces in the team getting familiarised with their goals, the chances of success are slim.
He was quoted by Speedway Digest, saying, “We have been hard at work here at the shop this off-season, and I’m ready for the new season to start. We have a lot of new faces on our 38 team, so this weekend will be a test run of going through our procedures and working on our team chemistry at the track. It’s exciting though, and I couldn’t be prouder of the progress we have made in such a short off-season.”
Todd Gilliland is also expecting a grand outing at the Clash after making the main event in 2023. After all, there’s no better way to gauge the impact of their off-season efforts without repercussions. Gilliland stated, “I’m looking forward to getting to the track and testing out what we have. Like Ryan said, we have a lot of new faces on the team and this weekend will be a great time to lay the foundation for what we consider the standard for the rest of the season.”
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With the pressure on Gilliland to deliver a stellar season that matches his teammate McDowell’s meteoric rise, the new faces on the team will need to get up to speed fairly quickly. But as far as the chemistry between Gilliland and crew chief Bergenty is concerned, it’s nothing but a match made in heaven.
How Ryan Bergenty’s “football coach” approach could be vital to Gillialnd’s 2024 success
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In the 2022 season, Todd Gilliland was a rookie fairly overwhelmed by his competition. After all, most of the drivers in the other cars were idols he had always watched growing up. But soon enough, Gilliland was able to find his momentum, and the rest is history. While Gilliland has certainly proven his worth in the Truck Series and ARCA series, the journey in the Cup Series would not have been as comfortable without crew chief Bergenty.
Reflecting on the way Bergenty approaches his relationship with Gilliland, the driver of the #38 Mustang was quoted by Racer. He stated, “I know he’s really pushed me; that’s what he’s good at. Sometimes, we can put our whole team in an uncomfortable spot, but it’s to be better and keep growing. I’ve never had someone like Ryan,” sharing that it was Bergenty’s assertive nature that helped Gilliland step into the Cup Series as a changed man each season.
And while many would crack under such pressure, it’s where Gilliland swims. He concluded, “He’s almost like a football coach. I’ve never played football, but that’s what he reminds me of; jumping out at you, pushing you when you don’t know if you need it or not. That’s good. I think as humans, sometimes you can get comfortable and be left behind by not pushing yourself or learning and taking that extra half step.”
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The trust that Gilliland showcases in his crew chief doesn’t just have solid ground owing to Bergenty’s experience in the Cup Series. Even before being promoted to crew chief, Bergenty was involved with Front Row Motorsports for multiple seasons. So with his crew chief understanding FRM’s approach and plan for the future, it’s safe to say Todd Gilliland couldn’t be in safer hands. But will the new faces at the #38 garage help Gilliland achieve his Busch Light Clash goals?

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