NASCAR Gander Outdoors Truck Series star Todd Gilliland visited Phillis Wheatley Elementary School in Bridgeville, Delaware, today to help announce the winner of Dover International Speedway’s fourth annual Monster Mile Youth Nation Design Challenge.
All of the school’s fifth-graders, approximately 200 students, lined the sidewalk in front of the school’s main entrance as the student-designed pace car (complete with flashing lights) was driven by Gilliland into the school’s driveway.
The winning designer, Phillis Wheatley fifth-grader Nakaiya Burbage, recognized her concept, a colorful menagerie of stripes and flowing lines, invoking the late 1960s as the Monster Mile celebrates its 50th Anniversary season in 2019.
“I just wanted to be as creative as possible,” said Burbage, who has hopes to become a professional artist.
“It certainly stands out in a crowd,” added Gilliland, driver of the No. 4 Toyota Tundra for Kyle Busch Motorsports. “There’s no way I could draw something as good as that.”
The fourth annual Monster Mile Youth Nation Design Challenge saw fifth-graders from Delaware, Maryland, New Jersey, Pennsylvania and Virginia submit colorful and creative designs for Dover International Speedway’s official pace car. More than 3,000 students representing 32 schools participated.
Gilliland, the 2016 and 2017 NASCAR K&N Pro Series West champion, will be back in Delaware on Friday, May 3 to compete in the “JEGS 200” NASCAR Gander Outdoors Truck Series race at Dover International Speedway. The race is part of the Monster Mile’s NASCAR tripleheader weekend from May 3-5, capped by the “Gander RV 400” Monster Energy NASCAR Cup Series race on Sunday, May 5.
Gilliland, who has started two NASCAR Gander Outdoors Truck Series races at Dover International Speedway, was recently ranked No. 2 in an ESPN.com story on the top 20 young prospects in NASCAR.
After the pace car’s arrival, Gilliland drove Burbage around the school’s parking lot in the car, then participated in a student Q&A with the school’s entire population of third-, fourth- and fifth-graders – approximately 600 students overall.
Gilliland, 18, fielded questions ranging from how many trophies he has won (30 to 40), how many races he’s been in (around 300 overall), how fast he has gone in a race car (close to 180 miles per hour) to what his favorite subject was in school (math).
As part of her prize package, Burbage will receive a VIP experience at the Monster Energy NASCAR Cup Series race on Sunday, May 5, including recognition during pre-race activities.