Gilliland & Eckes Pace Martinsville Truck Practices

Gilliland & Eckes Pace
Todd Gilliland was the fastest man in town Friday at Martinsville Speedway. (Jacob Seelman photo)

MARTINSVILLE, Va. – Despite a tough season for the organization, Friday was all about Kyle Busch Motorsports at Martinsville Speedway.

The team’s three Toyota Tundras – piloted by Todd Gilliland, Christian Eckes and Harrison Burton, respectively – were the top-three overall on the speed charts after a pair of NASCAR Gander Outdoors Truck Series practice sessions at the .526-mile paper clip.

Gilliland, who led the way in Happy Hour, was quickest overall in the No. 4 Mobil 1/JBL Audio Tundra with a time of 19.788 seconds (95.694 mph) late in the going.

The third-generation driver is seeking his first Truck Series win in his second full-time season with KBM. He’s a previous pole winner at Martinsville, topping qualifying in 2018.

“I feel like our truck was okay,” Gilliland told SPEED SPORT. “Speed-wise before, we were second most of the practice when everyone was doing race runs, so I didn’t feel like our speed was that far off. But we put on new tires, and didn’t really do anything special on race runs, but just right there at the end put on another set of tires for a mock run. It didn’t feel great, but it was fast.

“We’re going to do our best to get it feeling a little bit better so that I can repeat that same thing tomorrow. Hopefully it’s good enough for the pole.”

Eckes topped opening practice with a lap of 19.851 seconds (95.391 mph) in the No. 51 SiriusXM Tundra, good enough for second overall on the day behind Gilliland.

The 18-year-old from Middletown, N.Y., is fresh off the ARCA Menards Series championship with Venturini Motorsports and is also seeking his maiden Truck Series victory.

Third quickest, and second in final practice, was Harrison Burton (19.881/95.247). Burton recently announced an Xfinity Series deal to drive for Joe Gibbs Racing in the No. 20 Toyota Supra next season and is the third in the KBM trio looking to secure his first Truck win.

Defending Truck Series champion Brett Moffitt and four-time Martinsville winner Johnny Sauter completed the top five in the combined rundown.

Sixteen-year-old rookie and reigning NASCAR K&N Pro Series East champion Sam Mayer was sixth, followed by Sheldon Creed, Tanner Gray, John Hunter Nemechek and Austin Hill.

Qualifying for the NASCAR Gander Outdoors Truck Series is scheduled for 10 a.m. on Saturday morning.