NEWLYWED GAUGHAN TAKES ON NEWLY-SURACED BRISTOL RACE TRACK
LAS VEGAS, NV (August 20, 2007) -- Bristol Motor Speedway's surface won't be the only new thing for Brendan Gaughan this week -- not by a long shot.
Gaughan, the driver of the No. 77 South Point Hotel & Casino Chevrolet comes to Bristol a newlywed, having just married fellow Las Vegas-native Tatum Hayes. Gaughan, 32, and Hayes, 31, were married on Saturday, Aug. 18th in a small ceremony in Vail, CO.
"I've been very fortunate in my life to have a group of very good friends, and I have added another best friend to that group and that's my new wife, Tatum," Gaughan said. "The funny part to me is the word marriage and the action of a wedding has always been very frightening experience to me. We definitely know that I was never the guy who was meant for marriage. I mean, everybody asked where my bachelor party was and I said 'No thanks, my life has been a bachelor party for the last 32 years.' I didn't really think I needed one.
"I'm happy. We had a beautiful wedding and reception in Vail, near my family's house. It was an absolutely gorgeous day -- couldn't have asked for anything better. I'm happy to have her and excited to put my name on the list of married drivers now. I guess I'm no longer a 'Young Gun' officially."
Gaughan's new status as a married man has been the source of a lot of jokes around the race shop and at the track, but he just takes everything in stride.
"My crew chief bought me and my lovely bride Marriage for Dummies and The Complete Idiot's Guide to Marriage," Gaughan said. "Tatum and I had a big fight over which one should get which book. We couldn't choose who was the idiot and who was the dummy, so we share them. We each get a chapter and then we switch books."
Newlywed or not, Gaughan's focus will turn to the newly-surfaced Bristol Motor Speedway come Tuesday. That's when the NASCAR Craftsman Truck Series (NCTS) teams will have an open practice before their one-day show on Wednesday.
Gaughan, who has a career best finish of fourth at the .533-mile concrete oval, says the first test at Bristol in July was a huge asset to his South Point Racing team.
"All I know is we did a whole lot of laps and I was tired at the end of the day," Gaughan said. "This NASCAR testing policy I am not a big fan of and I haven't been. However, NASCAR gave us a test at Bristol, and I am very, very happy we got a test there. But we need more.
"Every time this race team goes to a track to test and we get to verify the engineering data that Chevrolet is giving to us, we end up coming back stellar.
"We were sixth quick on the whole day at Bristol in July. We did 300 plus laps," Gaughan added. "John McQueen, our engineer from Chevrolet, and my shock guy, Mike Roos -- we kept them swamped. We did more shocks than I have ever seen us throw at something. We did more adjustments than I have ever seen a race team make. We took full advantage of that test. That's what testing is supposed to be about. I'm glad we got it. I just wish we had more."
Although the No. 77 Silverado turned more than 300 laps during the test session, crew chief Bryan Berry says the team still has more to try at the open practice.
"Bristol is not the same monster that it used to be," Berry said. "We ended the test with the changes we needed to get our Chevrolet turning good, and we think we have some ideas on how to get some more speed."
Gaughan, who was running second at Bristol last year before getting a pit road penalty, knows that Berry and his crew have been hard at work studying the data from the pervious test. The team's goal has been to get back to where they were at Bristol last year -- before the penalty, so Gaughan expects they will come to Bristol with a game plan to put his Silverado on top of the board.
"We're going to take that same truck and we've taken all the data that we learned, shipped it off to the people at Chevrolet, and had them crunch some numbers," Gaughan said. "If we can come back just that little bit better than we were at the test -- we stayed just a little bit too tight right through the center -- if we can fix that little bitty piece, we think that we can go back to Bristol and be better than we were. That's what testing is for. I've got confidence in the guys who make those decisions and who call the shots on my race team. We'll be good this week."
Crew Chief Bryan Berry Talks About Testing at Bristol in July
"Bristol is not the same monster that it used to be. Everybody asked if we had to change a lot and I told them that we only changed the front and the back and all four shocks. If I knew whole answer, we'd be thefastest truckhere
"The track is definitely smoother. The big transitions that we used to have to worry about as far as the shock package we would run, we don't have to worry about now. We're down on front spring, too. All that figures into the overall package here.
"We ended the test with changes we wanted to make, but I think we can make it better than what it was then. We ran 300 laps, but we sure would have liked to run a 100 more. There will probably be some more rubber on the track when we come back this week, and the race trackshould be a little faster. We're going to go back, study what we learned, and see if we can get some more speed and put our South Point Chevrolet on top of the board."