Saturday, August 02, 2008

A Fan Shouts "Way to Go, David Gilliland!"

As a raving NASCAR fan, I have found myself to be on The Ups and The Downs in my obsession! I lucked into NASCAR, when my employer introduced me to a driver. I then formed a fan following for a particular driver who was showing some degree of success, and became a full-bore, all-out fan. After my driver (of the time) exhibited some behavior that I could not, personally or morally tolerate, I felt it was time to move on.

And move on I did! It took a bit, but I found an upcoming driver who did not come with all of the glory and instant success of the Denny Hamlins, Kyle Busches, and Joey Loganos of the world. It is easy to follow a driver that wins right out of the box. And yet, I chose the more challenging path. I became a fan of David Gilliland.

David had a surprise win in a Busch race that brought him to a Cup level ride at Robert Yates Racing. Sadly, RYR was in the process of burying itself into a huge hole, and David struggled in his first year and a half in equipment that appeared to be demon-inspired. Now that Robert's son, Doug, has reformed the company, and is now an affiliate of Roush Racing, there is a marked improvement in both equipment and in solid finishes.

The first year of Yates Racing has presented the world with the perseverance of "The Little Train That Could!" Faced with a patchwork of sponsorship, both Yates teams have continued to show the world that better equipment produces better results. David and his team mate, Travis Kvapil, who was also afflicted with poor running cars early in his Cup career, are showing consistent improvement when in consistently prepared cars.

A little over a month ago, David drove to a steady and solid 2nd place finish at Infineon. Yesterday, he qualified his Ford Fusion to a 3rd place start. Each of these milestones have been hard fought, but they are harbingers of the future, in my opinion. These starts and finishes will become more of a norm, and I am boldly predicting both a pole and a win this year!

Following a driver who struggles is character building. It is always a challenge to come to a race, as a fan, and proudly wear the colors of a driver who is not popular. Some of the teasing and comments are good natured, others not so fun to hear. But, when a fan is convinced that a particular driver is worth it, then there is no shaking of that faith.

Viewing message boards of some of those struggling drivers shows true grit and true character on the part of the fans. Most of those drivers' fans are positive, and sure that things will get better. Why? Faith! Faith that our judgment is right. Faith that the others on the forum feel the same. Faith that WE are the ones who will lead the rest of NASCAR fans to finding the truth about our driver.

But we are still generous with our fandom! We welcome others to join us on our band-wagon. There is always room for more!

At this time, I have to say hello to a fellow blogger, Valli, from The Fast and the Fabulous! She gave a special shout-out to Gilly's Gang, a group of those intrepid fanatic followers, who are proud of being affiliated with David Gilliland. She knows us well, and is another of those proud followers of Drivers Not (Yet) Famous!

And David? Go get 'em tomorrow! Gilly's Gang has faith! And as for potential sponsors? WHAT THE HECK ARE YOU WAITING FOR? This WILL be one of the 'feel good stories' of NASCAR, trust me! (photocredit Getty)


calorchard said...

“If everything seems under control, you're just not going fast enough.”

Thanks Merri !!!!!!!!!!

Anonymous said...

Merri, what a great blog!! You have some wonderful entries here about our favorite driver and about NASCAR in general!
Very eloquent and interesting!
I look forward to future entries. :)


Anonymous said...

Oh I'm carolinaracegirl from David's site...
re: previous comment

Thanks for promoting David as well as you do!

ValliCA said...

Merri, thank you for the shout out! You rock and Gilly's Gang is so awesome.

This was an excellent post! I agree with you that David will have a win this year, it's just gotta happen! :)