BROOKLYN, Mich. — A fifth-place finish in the Corrigan Oil 200 at Michigan International Speedway may have been a good result for Todd Gilliland, but it wasn’t what he needed.
Gilliland was fast in the No. 4 Mobil 1 Toyota, and held the lead for a total of eight laps en route to collecting his second straight top-10 finish and his second top five on the year. But the rookie still sits 12th in the playoff standings, 126 points down on Matt Crafton at the cutline.
That means Gilliland faces a must-win situation to make the playoffs in his Camping World Truck Series rookie season with Kyle Busch Motorsports. But, Gilliland is taking a realist approach to the task at hand.
“I think a lot of people are focused on just making the playoffs, but there’s more races after that,” Gilliland said leaning up against the No. 4 truck after Saturday’s race. “As a team, I don’t think we’re close enough yet to just try to get that one win.”
Of course, the fire to make the playoffs burns in Gilliland, but he’s focused on the whole picture.
“We just need to focus on getting more consistent every week,” Gilliland said. “If we would have finished top five the last few weeks in a row, it’d be a little bit different. But this is our best finish in a while and we need to take the positives out of it.”
Heading into the regular-season finale at Bristol Motor Speedway on Thursday night (8:30 p.m. ET on FOX, MRN, SiriusXM NASCAR Radio), Gilliland plans to keep his head down and ignore all the pressure to make the postseason.
“It’s a place that I’ve won at earlier this year in the K&N Pro Series East,” Gilliland said. “Kyle Busch Motorsports always runs extremely well there. It’s just going to be about being consistent and not letting anybody get in my head. Just try to stay focused the best I can.”