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Gilliland's good luck comes from lost wedding ring

July 04, 2014, Holly Cain,

Front Row Motorsports driver's misfortune results in first pole in seven years

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DAYTONA BEACH, Fla. -- Even before David Gilliland arrived for his pole-winner news conference Friday evening at Daytona International Speedway, his 11-year old daughter had explained on social media what she felt was the real key to her dad's first pole in seven years. And it had nothing to do with horsepower or aerodynamics.


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According to his wife Michelle Gilliland's Twitter account: 


Gilliland was unaware of the comment when he walked into the Daytona Media Center and had a good laugh when asked about it.

"We were staying at a condo at the beach, and were swimming in the ocean and felt like something was underneath my wedding ring and I went to touch it and it popped off,'' Gilliland said laughing. "All of us looked for it for like an hour and a half to two hours, but it's like looking for a needle in a haystack, so obviously we didn't find it. That's funny she would say that." 

Rain canceled qualifying for Saturday's Coke Zero 400 after the 25-minute first session Friday, resulting in a few surprises at the front of the grid. 

This is Gilliland's first pole since he led the field in the 2007 Daytona 500. It's the first ever for his Front Row Motorsports team, whose other car, the No. 34 driven by David Ragan, earned an eighth-place start.

Tommy Baldwin Racing's Reed Sorenson will start his No. 36 Golden Corral Chevrolet on the outside of the front row and Landon Cassill will start third in the Hillman Racing Chevrolet.

Hendrick Motorsports drivers Jimmie Johnson and Daytona 500 winner Dale Earnhardt Jr. were fifth and seventh fastest. Sprint Cup Series points leader Jeff Gordon will roll off ninth.

And while the starting lineup may feature some different names up front, those drivers seemed confident in their cars and their chances for Saturday's Coke Zero 400.

"I think Front Row Motorsports, our strong point is definitely speedway racing,'' Gilliland said. "It is something that is circled on our calendar from the start of the year. We put a lot of emphasis on it. We have good speedway cars. The restrictor plate tracks are a good equalizer. David Ragan and I both have cars good enough to win tomorrow and that is an exciting feeling. It is something myself and my teammate don’t have every week."

Then he revealed what he thought was the real reason to Friday afternoon's success.

"Our Support Our Military camo paint job is very special and a lot of veterans have signed the hood and some Medal of Honor recipients signed it this morning, I think that is the secret to the extra speed in the car,'' Gilliland said. "I am proud and honored to drive the car and feel like we have 100 percent as good a chance as anyone to win tomorrow night."


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