David Gilliland: Out at Yates?

Ben BombergerSenior Writer IJanuary 15, 2009

Ever heard the saying "three's a crowd?" Well it appears that four is actually a crowd at Yates Racing, and David Gilliland may be the one outside looking in.

According to SceneDaily.com, Gilliland feels like he is being pushed aside, now that Hall of Fame Racing has joined the Yates stable with past-champion Bobby Labonte behind the wheel of the No. 96.

It was first rumored that newcomer, Paul Menard, would receive the owner points from the No. 28, driven by Travis Kvapil, since Menard brought a full-time sponsor.

Now, it appears that Kvapil will take over Gilliland's ride, and sponsored car.

In the announcement earlier this week, Yates said they would only be fielding three cars in 2009. With Menard guaranteed a sponsor, he is in, as is Labonte, but that leaves only one spot left.

Kvapil finished ahead of Gilliland in the points last season.

“I just heard of the thing today, from the Internet, so that’s what I assume,” Gilliland said Wednesday afternoon. “I haven’t actually had a sit-down with them, but I’m still under contract with them through 2009. So we’re just going to have to work through it, and hopefully, we can get something else going." (SceneDaily.com)

If, indeed Gilliland is the odd man out, it leaves very little options for the driver to find a ride full-time in 2009.

Daytona is just weeks away, and Gilliland said he was disappointed to hear the news.

“It’s just kind of a bummer that it’s this late in the [off-season], you know?” he told SceneDaily's Jeff Gluck. “We’ll just have to see what we can come up with and see what we can try and do.”

Gilliland became a star in June 2006, when he won a Nationwide Race at Kentucky in an under-funded car. He became the first non-Cup driver to win that year.

He was quickly picked-up by Yates Racing, and took over the No. 38 for the final 15 races of 2006.

In 2007, he finished 28th in points, with two top-10 finishes and one top-five. Last year, he had similar numbers with a 27th place finish in the points, and two top-10 finishes and one top-five.

Gilliland appeared to be safe, because he was driving the car with more sponsorship, but Kvapil out performed him in a mostly unsponsored car last season.

It should be interesting to see how all this plays out with just weeks until the cars hit the track at Daytona. One of the few remaining spots open at NASCAR's premiere level is the No. 41 at Earnhardt-Ganassi Racing.

Rumors have been swirling over there as well. The team only has two fully-sponsored cars in the No. 1 of Martin Truex Jr. and the No. 41, which has Target on board.

Many have said that Juan Pablo Montoya could be taking over the No. 41, since his No. 42 is only partially sponsored. Aric Almirola is also on board in the No. 8, but it has not been announced which sponsor (if any) the car will have in 2009.