Nakaiya Burbage surprised by NASCAR truck driver Todd Gilliland
A Bridgeville fifth-grader’s design will be featured on Dover International Speedway’s official travelling pace car this year.
Nakaiya Burbage, a student at Phillis Wheatley Elementary School, learned she won the fourth annual Monster Mile Youth Nation Design Challenge on Tuesday, April 16, when NASCAR Gander Outdoors Truck Series driver Todd Gilliland pulled up in front of the school in the pace car.
Burbage and about 200 other fifth-graders were lined up in front for his arrival.
“I was very surprised,” she said.
Thirty-two schools from five states and over 3,000 students participated in the contest. Burbage drew the winning design, a colorful display of flowing lines, in art teacher Katie Roache’s class a few months ago.
“I wanted it to pop out,” she said.
The travelling pace car featuring her design will appear at numerous community events throughout the Mid-Atlantic region this year.
As part of her prize package, Burbage will get the VIP experience at the Monster Energy NASCAR Cup Series race on Sunday, May 5, including recognition during pre-race activities.
Gilliland is an 18-year-old driver from Sherrills Ford, North Carolina. He drives the No. 4 Toyota Tundra for Kyle Busch Motorsports.
“I’m really not too much older than them,” he said. “Just the excitement level of the kids is awesome.”
Following his arrival and a lap around the school with Burbage, Gilliland took questions from students in the gymnasium.
He told students his favorite subject in school was math, that the fastest he’s ever driven is about 180 miles per hour and, to many giggles, that he’s never had to urinate in his suit while driving.
Dover International Speedway’s fiftieth anniversary season begins on Friday, May 3, when Gilliland will return to the track for the “JEGS” 200 NASCAR Gander Outdoors Truck Series race. Visit DoverMotorsports.com for more information.