Tuesday, July 15, 2003 Dodge This Teleconference Brendan Gaughan BRENDAN GAUGHAN (No. 62 Orleans Racing Dodge Ram) COMMENT ON LAST WEEK'S RACE AT KENTUCKY "My guys have really been building great Dodge stuff. We're fast each week. We ...
Tuesday, July 15, 2003
Dodge This Teleconference
BRENDAN GAUGHAN (No. 62 Orleans Racing Dodge Ram)
COMMENT ON LAST WEEK'S RACE AT KENTUCKY
"My guys have really been building great Dodge stuff. We're fast each week. We finally blew a motor after 13 years. That's my fourth one in a race, so that's not bad. We'll take that record and go to the bank."
HAS TRUCK SERIES TURNED INTO A YOUNG MAN'S GAME?
"Everybody likes to talk about we've had a lot of older drivers. Jack Sprague and Ron Hornaday, those guys have done a lot for the series. Ted Musgrave and Bobby Hamilton and Rick Crawford, those are guys that really make our series. Everybody wants to think the Craftsman Truck Series is an older series or not quite what it is. Well, those are the guys who have made it as competitive as it is. Everybody is going to win races. It's too competitive. We have too many great teams. Right now the Roush kids both won back-to-back. That's great for us. We've been winning a lot of races. We've been fast. It's just a hard-nosed competitive series. I think sometimes people like to blow it out of proportion one way or the other and say it's the recycled series or it doesn't have the same competitiveness. Well, I love when we get some Winston Cup guys to show up. They don't quite do like the Busch Series. They don't win every time they show up at the Craftsman Truck Series. You can't call any series a recycled series when they don't show up and kick our butt. The Craftsman trucks are a lot of fun. It's not as easy to drive as when Winston Cup guys go to Busch and have the same aero rules. You don't handle trucks and cars the same way, so when a Winston Cup team comes down and really dominates when they go to Busch. We have a great niche in the Craftsman Truck Series, and I think sometimes that's why the Winston Cup guys are afraid to come down and race with us."
DO YOU PLAY VIDEO GAMES THAT SIMULATE RACETRACKS?
"I like playing video games. I grew up playing video games. I've never used them as a simulation or a trainer practice for anything. Number one, I don't do a lot of setup things. My crew chief and my team do those things for me. I'm not as smart as them, and I don't try to be. Two, when you hit the wall in a video game it doesn't quite feel like it does when you hit the real thing. Personally, I say come to the track and drive. That's the way they've done it for 50 plus years. Simulate it, they can simulate flying and they can simulate a lot of things. I get sick on some of those simulator things with the windows everywhere. I go with my friends to some of those things. In Las Vegas we've got the NASCAR Cafe and I can't even do the road course. I have to hit the emergency stop. I get sick on it."
DEFINE OLDER DRIVERS
"I think it's more the media that puts that moniker on these guys that they're older drivers. But everybody wants to talk about the guys with more experience. Take Rick Crawford, he's not that old. He's a guy with a lot of experience in the Craftsman Truck Series. Bobby Hamilton and Ted Musgrave came along with a lot of Winston Cup experience and now they're in the Craftsman Truck Series. I'm sure they don't appreciate the nickname of older driver, but I think it more stands for the moniker that they have more experience than Brendan Gaughan or Carl Edwards or Bill Lester."
IS IT A PROBLEM BEING LOCATED IN LAS VEGAS?
"Not yet. One thing I'm most proud of with that team is that we've able to keep it on the west coast. They always said at the top three levels of NASCAR you have to move to the east coast, you've got to be down near Mooresville or some of the areas in the south. It really means a lot to us that we're able to prove a lot of people wrong. We're winning from the west coast. We're competing for the Craftsman Truck Series championship from the west coast. I think the biggest difference for us is number one, you can't do it alone. You have to have a manufacturer and we happened to have what I feel is the best manufacturer. We're still missing that sponsor thing. We need a good primary sponsor, but we've got a good manufacturer and we've got the guys that are willing to make it work. Of the three ingredients, we've got two out of the three. We're really fortunate that we have a team owner who's willing to have a lot of fun and willing to spend some money without a primary sponsor. I think it's been a help to us (being located in Las Vegas). First of all, the sponsors that I do have are mostly west coast based teams that have been with me for a long time. That speaks a lot for our program. American Racing Wheels has been with me since I was 15 years old. I think a lot of the reasons why Dodge picked us back up a few years ago is that we are kind of outside the radar of some things and we have a lot of history of racing in the west. Sometimes you need that diverse group to make everything work. Everybody is struggling for a sponsor right now, not just us. It's pretty common across the board. Roush Racing doesn't have a sponsor for their trucks or some of their Winston Cup cars coming up. A lot of companies like to have that ego of saying, 'hey, we're bucking the system and we're able to get it done.'
DO YOU HAVE A MENTAL ROUTINE BEFORE EACH RACE?
"I'm probably one of the biggest goofballs you've probably ever met. I grew up in Las Vegas and I'm having fun. Whether it's playing other sports or working in the casino or racing the car, I'm not very superstitious and I don't have the whole, 'OK, give me 20 minutes to do this, this and this.' I don't have any routine. I go out there and give my mom or my dad a kiss. My mom doesn't tell me to be careful anymore. She just tells me to have fun. My dad just sits there and says you can't do any of this without me, and I say thanks dad. I walk across the stage, and with any luck you're picking up some sort of check from the week before. You jump in your car. Marty Moore, who's been with me since I was 16 or 17 years old is the guy who puts me in the seat, Marty gives me a hug. I give him a high five and we jump in and go. I really don't have a routine."
COMMENT ON COMPETITION IN TRUCK SERIES
"Last year the championship came down to the last race where three people had a shot at the championship. The Craftsman Truck Series basically every year puts on a pretty good deal. Some years in the past it was a runaway championship, but that happens occasionally. Since I've been involved it's always tight. Last year the championship came down to Rick Crawford, Mike Bliss and Ted Musgrave. Mike came out on top, but three people had a chance. It's really going to be stressful. I'd like a nice runaway championship, me about 200 points in the lead, don't even have to show up for the last race. That's the way it's supposed to be."
HOW DO YOU FEEL ABOUT TOYOTA ENTERING TRUCK SERIES?
"It's great. You get another manufacturer in the sport. A manufacturer is going to make its entry in the NASCAR Craftsman Truck Series. It's great for the series. It's great because I like competition. It's also great because I have the only manufacturer in Dodge that's ready for 'em. The other two manufacturers right now are already whining and crying about enough horsepower and enough aero. To me, they're the ones who built their trucks. The only place you need to whine is at your own engineering staff. The Dodge guys have got their stuff together. We get our wind tunnel time and we get help from the engineers. We've got great horsepower. They've done a good job designing all those things. When Toyota comes to the series, they don't have much of a learning curve. They usually step up pretty well. The rumor is they've already made available every minute of wind tunnel time at Lockheed-Martin, and they're going to come in with a big bang. Right now the only manufacturer ready for them is Dodge. I'm excited. Bring 'em on. I've heard a bunch of rumors. The only thing I know for sure is that I grew up most of my life racing against Toyota most of my life in the dessert. The people that run it are pretty good friends of ours still. They came to our shop a couple of months ago and wanted to know why we were the only team in the garage that hadn't called them. We're pretty happy where we are. Dodge took a chance on us, and we're letting it roll. I've heard a lot of rumors about Jack Sprague returning to the Craftsman Truck Series in a Toyota. The only rumor that's most believable is a guy named Robert Huffman, who's a Goody's Dash Series driver. He's driven a Celica in the Dash Series the last couple of years and rumor has it that he's going to be in a Craftsman Truck next year in a Toyota, and that's nice. He's done a lot for their program, and it's nice of them to reward them."
WHAT'S DIFFERENT MENTALLY AND PHYSICALLY ABOUT DRIVERS?
"I can't answer for most drivers because I'm very different than most people. If you can call me a good driver, the only thing that's in me is a lot of athletic background. I played basketball for John Thompson. I played football at Georgetown. I come with a really big athletic mentally. I believe in the physical condition of the driver, and I believe in the mental strength of what I do. I go to Kansas City where people are being taken out of their trucks after the race because of the heat. I didn't have any water in my car. I didn't have any air blowing on me, and I wasn't tired. I wasn't sweating. I jumped out of the truck ready to do another hundred laps. Those are the things that give me what I feel is a mental edge over people. I have a competitive drive that anybody can have. Anybody that's played football or basketball in college or even high school they've really given their hearts to play the sport and they know about that competitive drive."
YOU HAVE A SPORTS BACKGROUND. DO YOU STILL FOLLOW OTHER SPORTS?
"Two nights ago John Thompson and a guy named Michael Jackson, a former Hoya basketball player from the 80s and a former Hog from the Washington Redskins, we were all at dinner in Las Vegas. I live in a town where sports betting is legal, and we can be in office pools and not get in trouble. My family is from Nebraska, and we get all the Nebraska football reports. Of course, I follow Georgetown so closely it's disturbing some days. I still play a lot of basketball when I get a chance. Dodge doesn't want you to play a lot of football. They think it's too dangerous for a guy to play. The Orleans just opened up its arena and we had our first boxing match the other night. I still follow all my sports. I even bet on myself to win every once in awhile. There's nothing in the rules against that."
WHERE DO YOU BET ON YOURSELF?
"Texas, that seems to be a good bet (three for last three). I actually bet on myself to win at Milwaukee. After Happy Hour I felt pretty good. I called up my roommate and he said we were 11-1. I bet on myself. It was probably more for a joke and more for fun. There's nothing in the rule book that says you can't bet on yourself to win, and there's nothing ethically wrong with betting on yourself to win. It shows confidence. If the odds are right and I feel good enough about it, I'll call my roommates and tell them to bet on me for me. I'll have to wait until after Happy Hour this week (at Gateway). You always come in and say, 'I'm confident, so we're going to win.' But you've got to wait and see how the truck feels. I'm excited about the truck we're bringing to St. Louis. We feel we have our geometry right this weekend. We've been fast every weekend, and I don't believe that trend is going to go away any time soon. The Casino Queen is one of our sponsors, and it's about four miles from the track. We're going to run the Casino Queen colors this weekend, and we're looking forward to putting on a good show for them."