Interview with 2012 Hall of Fame inductee Butch Gilliland

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West Coast Stock Car Hall of Fame 2012 Inductees
Founded in 2001, the West Cost Stock Car Hall of Fame recognizes significant contributors to Stock Car Racing development and history – including designers, engineers, mechanics, drivers, racetrack owners, promoters, publicists and members of the motorsports media. The 2012 class will be inducted during a gala event June 21 during the NASCAR weekend at Infineon Raceway.
PIR sat down recently with several of the honored members from the 2012 class to discuss some of their most cherished NASCAR and West Coast Racing memories.

Butch Gilliland:

“It is very fulfilling to know that the hard work of not only me, but also my devoted team of supporters, can be recognized and acknowledged through this accomplishment.”

Butch Gilliland was the 1997 NASCAR K&N Pro Series West champion and winner of 13 races in the division. The owner of Norfleet Developments, Gilliland is currently based in Dubai, United Arab Emirates where he serves as President of Norfleet Engineers and Construction, LLC. In 1997, when he won the NASCAR K&N Pro Series West championship, his then-crew chief was his son, David Gilliland, who currently competes in the NASCAR Sprint Cup Series.

What are you doing now?

After retiring from NASCAR, I continued growing my business Anaheim Truck and Auto Service, Inc. until selling it in 2006. Since then, I have been involved in various business ventures in the U.S. and internationally. Currently, I am setting up the international headquarters for my newest company, Norfleet Engineers and Construction, LLC. in Dubai, United Arab Emirates.

What does it mean to be inducted into the West Coast Stock Car Hall of Fame?

It is a great honor and surprise to be recognized for the years of hard work racing in the NASCAR western division that was put forth by a lot of hard work and a great team. It is very fulfilling to know that the hard work of not only me, but also my devoted team of supporters, can be recognized and acknowledged through this accomplishment. I dedicate this award to those who helped make it possible, including my wonderful family, friends, teammates and employees.  

How important is it to the continued growth of NASCAR to recognize the specific accomplishments that have taken place in the West?

Recognizing the accomplishments of those who have put forth years of effort to the sport is very beneficial, not only for those being recognized, but also as motivation for those who follow. It is imperative to cultivate the talent of today and tomorrow by offering them incentive to continue perpetrating the sport we love.

What was special to you about West Coast racing?

The most special aspect of West Coast racing was the intimacy of it. Rather than the distanced, corporate focused business-side of the national series, the West Coast racing was always local, family-based teams working their hardest to make an impact on the sport that they loved. As such, it provided opportunities for families to grow with the sport, as evidenced by my son David becoming a successful Sprint Cup Series driver to this day.

How did you get your start in NASCAR?

When I was a child in New Mexico, my parents sponsored a local race car. I remember going to the races when I was 4 to 6 years old and that really inspired me. When we moved to California shortly thereafter, my parents bought my brothers and me mini bikes and I was racing ever since.

Who was the most influential person in your career?

My mother and father for showing me what hard work and dedication was all about.

What was it that you enjoyed most about your career in NASCAR?

Meeting some of the best friends and acquaintances of my life.

What was the toughest part of your career?

The ups and downs of any racer’s career are difficult to deal with. The highs and lows, it’s like a roller coaster, there is very little steady.

What are your thoughts on the sport today?

It’s still a great sport. I love NASCAR racing because it’s a racing sport that people can still identify with. I went to the Formula 1 race last year in Abu Dhabi, UAE and there just is not the same enthusiasm or fan involvement as with a NASCAR race. NASCAR is No. 1.

What are the biggest changes between the sport today and when you competed?

I don’t know if there really is a difference, perhaps more publicity and pressure, but overall, it is the same competitive sport today that it was 10 years ago.

Talk about your son, David’s career. How proud are you of his accomplishments? Is there any pressure on him to follow in your footsteps?

As a father, I am so proud of David. I feel he has taken the torch and climbed to a higher level. As far as pressure on him, I don’t really know if he had pressure or a desire to be better than me. David, when he started racing had his own style and a finesse that I feel is better than mine.

What is it that makes NASCAR so special to you?

The personal involvement of the racing community. I remember Bill France and the officials that were so hard on us, but if we had problems and needed advice or help they were the first to see what they could help with.

What do you want your legacy to be when people think of your career?

My legacy? I’ve never really given it any thought. In retrospect, I would hope that people thinking of my career would see a hard working guy, surrounded by family and friends who always tried their hardest, even in the face of adversity. As far as a continued legacy, I will leave that to my son David, Grandson Todd and posterity to decide.

Anything else that you would like fans to know about you and/or your career?

What a ride!  As I look back and think about the great people and friends that my family and I have met, I cannot ask for anything better. Now, as I look for other adventures to give me the same thrills as racing, it makes me think of all the good and hard times. One thing I have to say is that giving up was never an option.

West Coast Stock Car Hall of Fame 2012 Inductees

Founded in 2001, the West Cost Stock Car Hall of Fame recognizes significant contributors to Stock Car
Racing development and history – including designers, engineers, mechanics, drivers, racetrack owners,
promoters, publicists and members of the motorsports media. The 2012 class will be inducted during a
gala event June 21 during the NASCAR weekend at Infineon Raceway.

PIR sat down recently with several of the honored members from the 2012 class to discuss some of their
most cherished NASCAR and West Coast Racing memories.

Butch Gilliland:

“It is very fulfilling to know that the hard work of not only me, but also my devoted team of supporters,
can be recognized and acknowledged through this accomplishment.”

Butch Gilliland was the 1997 NASCAR K&N Pro Series West champion and winner of 13 races in the
division. The owner of Norfleet Developments, Gilliland is currently based in Dubai, United Arab
Emirates where he serves as President of Norfleet Engineers and Construction, LLC. In 1997, when he
won the NASCAR K&N Pro Series West championship, his then-crew chief was his son, David Gilliland,
who currently competes in the NASCAR Sprint Cup Series.

What are you doing now?

After retiring from NASCAR, I continued growing my business Anaheim Truck and Auto Service, Inc.
until selling it in 2006. Since then, I have been involved in various business ventures in the U.S. and
internationally. Currently, I am setting up the international headquarters for my newest company,
Norfleet Engineers and Construction, LLC. in Dubai, United Arab Emirates.

What does it mean to be inducted into the West Coast Stock Car Hall of Fame?

It is a great honor and surprise to be recognized for the years of hard work racing in the NASCAR
western division that was put forth by a lot of hard work and a great team. It is very fulfilling to know
that the hard work of not only me, but also my devoted team of supporters, can be recognized and
acknowledged through this accomplishment. I dedicate this award to those who helped make it
possible, including my wonderful family, friends, teammates and employees.

How important is it to the continued growth of NASCAR to recognize the specific accomplishments
that have taken place in the West?

Recognizing the accomplishments of those who have put forth years of effort to the sport is very
beneficial, not only for those being recognized, but also as motivation for those who follow. It is
imperative to cultivate the talent of today and tomorrow by offering them incentive to continue
perpetrating the sport we love.

What was special to you about West Coast racing?

The most special aspect of West Coast racing was the intimacy of it. Rather than the distanced,
corporate focused business-side of the national series, the West Coast racing was always local, family-
based teams working their hardest to make an impact on the sport that they loved. As such, it provided
opportunities for families to grow with the sport, as evidenced by my son David becoming a successful
Sprint Cup Series driver to this day.

How did you get your start in NASCAR?

When I was a child in New Mexico, my parents sponsored a local race car. I remember going to the races
when I was 4 to 6 years old and that really inspired me. When we moved to California shortly thereafter,
my parents bought my brothers and me mini bikes and I was racing ever since.

Who was the most influential person in your career?

My mother and father for showing me what hard work and dedication was all about.

What was it that you enjoyed most about your career in NASCAR?

Meeting some of the best friends and acquaintances of my life.

What was the toughest part of your career?

The ups and downs of any racer’s career are difficult to deal with. The highs and lows, it’s like a roller
coaster, there is very little steady.

What are your thoughts on the sport today?

It’s still a great sport. I love NASCAR racing because it’s a racing sport that people can still identify with. I
went to the Formula 1 race last year in Abu Dhabi, UAE and there just is not the same enthusiasm or fan
involvement as with a NASCAR race. NASCAR is No. 1.

What are the biggest changes between the sport today and when you competed?

I don’t know if there really is a difference, perhaps more publicity and pressure, but overall, it is the
same competitive sport today that it was 10 years ago.

Talk about your son, David’s career. How proud are you of his accomplishments? Is there any pressure
on him to follow in your footsteps?

As a father, I am so proud of David. I feel he has taken the torch and climbed to a higher level. As far as
pressure on him, I don’t really know if he had pressure or a desire to be better than me. David, when he
started racing had his own style and a finesse that I feel is better than mine.

What is it that makes NASCAR so special to you?

The personal involvement of the racing community. I remember Bill France and the officials that were so
hard on us, but if we had problems and needed advice or help they were the first to see what they could
help with.

What do you want your legacy to be when people think of your career?

My legacy? I’ve never really given it any thought. In retrospect, I would hope that people thinking of my
career would see a hard working guy, surrounded by family and friends who always tried their hardest,
even in the face of adversity. As far as a continued legacy, I will leave that to my son David, Grandson
Todd and posterity to decide.

Anything else that you would like fans to know about you and/or your career?

What a ride! As I look back and think about the great people and friends that my family and I have
met, I cannot ask for anything better. Now, as I look for other adventures to give me the same thrills as
racing, it makes me think of all the good and hard times. One thing I have to say is that giving up was
never an option.

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