David Gilliland Gets No Love After Daytona 500 Third-Place Finish

David Gilliland had one of the best finishes of his NASCAR career in Sunday's Daytona 500, yet it was largely overlooked.

As it turns out, apparently there's only room for one underdog – even after finishing third.

Trevor Bayne won the race – and the spotlight – so Gilliland's late charge to the finish line with Carl Edwards was somewhat of an afterthought.

FOX interviewed Gilliland after the race, but ran out of time and went off the air without showing Gilliland's comments.

So what did Gilliland think of his Daytona 500 run?

"Real excited," Gilliland said after the race. "I finished second at Infineon (in 2008) – I think this tops that. It's Daytona."

Gilliland repeatedly thanked Front Row Motorsports owner Bob Jenkins, who runs the team out of of his own pockets. Taco Bell appears on Gilliland's car because Jenkins owns more than 120 fast-food restaurant franchises, a combination of Taco Bell, Long John Silver's and A&W.

"We stepped up our motor program to run the FR-9 (Ford) motor," Gilliland said. "Bob Jenkins bought a bunch of motors from (Richard Petty Motorsports). It's taken us 10 steps ahead on the competition side.

"I'm proud to have weathered the storm last year and now have a top-three finish at Daytona for not only myself, but Bob Jenkins."

Gilliland was 22nd with just 10 laps remaining in the Daytona 500, but hooked up with Carl Edwards (who was 19th at the time) and started driving to the front.

On the final green-white-checkered, Gilliland pushed Edwards past the Kurt Busch/Juan Pablo Montoya tandem and pairing allowed both he and his fellow Ford driver to get a podium finish.

"I gotta thank Carl," he said. "We really hooked up and made some moves there at the end. He made some moves, and we were just going."

Gilliland also credited NASCAR's rules in making the races more competitive and allowing for underdog stories like he and Bayne.

"I like it," he said. "It gives us a chance."

Because Bayne isn't running for Sprint Cup points, Gilliland is now No. 2 in the point standings (his highest ever), just one point behind Carl Edwards.

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