Daytona: Round one preview

It's Racing Over Football For This Brendan Gaughan Pit Crew Member Record Seven Series Champions To Race At Daytona DAYTONA BEACH, Fla. (Feb. 12, 2007) - As Brendan Gaughan (No. 77 Chevrolet) and South Point Racing continue the climb back to the...

It's Racing Over Football For This Brendan Gaughan Pit Crew Member
Record Seven Series Champions To Race At Daytona

DAYTONA BEACH, Fla. (Feb. 12, 2007) - As Brendan Gaughan (No. 77 Chevrolet) and South Point Racing continue the climb back to the heights of 2003, the driver sees personnel as being keys to the operation's renewed success.

Gaughan Views Pit Crew As Making The Difference This Year

"One of the things we lacked last year was our pit crew -- good or bad -- (it) was a little streaky," said Gaughan on the eve of Friday's Chevy Silverado HD 250 at Daytona International Speedway.

Since returning after spending the 2004 season in the NASCAR NEXTEL Cup Series, Gaughan, who finished 15th last year, has gone about rebuilding and rehiring.

Three employees -- Calvin Gravely, Chris Justice and Mike Harris -- have become major contributors.

Gravely is a tire changer and suspension specialist. Harris drives the team hauler and also changes tires on pit road and Justice, formerly a standout defensive back on Wake Forest University's Demon Deacon football team, will handle catch can duties as well as back up the jack man in Daytona.

"Chris is a heck of an athlete," said Gaughan, himself a collegiate basketball and football player at Georgetown University. "We needed a tire carrier and we heard there was a (great) tire guy running around without a job so we hired him."

A graduate of the Drive for Diversity program, Justice was torn between his two favorite sports, ultimately taking the South Point job despite making the initial cut to play for a professional arena football team.

"The Carolina (N.C.) Speed deal was a blessing but it was a past passion," Justice said.

"Racing motivates me. You have the different positions just like a football team.

"Everybody depends on everybody in each environment so that the camaraderie you gain as a group translates over into both industries."

Series Record Seven Champions Will Tackle Daytona

An unprecedented seven former NASCAR Craftsman Truck Series champions are expected to start Friday's Chevy Silverado HD 250.

The seven, which include inaugural 1995 champion Mike Skinner (No. 5 Toyota Tundra Toyota) and 2006 champion Todd Bodine (No. 30 Lumber Liquidators Toyota), count a combined 10 championships and 119 victories.

Other champions in the field are Ron Hornaday Jr. (No. 33 AES HR Solutions Chevrolet), 1996, 98; Jack Sprague (No. 60 Con-way Freight Toyota), 1997, 99, 2001; Mike Bliss (No. 40 Key Motorsports Chevrolet), 2002; Travis Kvapil (No. 6 Roush Racing Ford, 2003; and Ted Musgrave (No. 9 Team ASE/Germain Toyota), 2005.

Six champions started last year's season-opener.

Ironically, none of the seven has won a series race at Daytona International Speedway. Bodine, Kvapil and Musgrave each have finished second; Bodine most recently a year ago.

The only driver to win a championship and a Daytona race is Bobby Hamilton, who captured the 2005 season opener after winning the title the previous year.

-credit: nascar

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Series NASCAR Truck
Drivers Bobby Hamilton , Todd Bodine , Mike Skinner , Ron Hornaday Jr. , Ted Musgrave , Jack Sprague , Brendan Gaughan , Mike Bliss , Travis Kvapil